Japan Press Weekly
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Drive pro-cluster bomb states into corner
Akahata editorial (excerpts)
The International Cluster Bomb Conference held in Dublin, Ireland, ended on May 30 after unanimously adopting the draft treaty banning almost all cluster bombs excluding new, high-performance ones.
The draft will be submitted to a vote in Oslo early in December in line with the declaration adopted at the international conference in Oslo in February 2007 calling for a treaty banning cluster bombs to be concluded by the end of 2008.
Some countries that possess the bombs, including the United States, Russia, and China did not participate in the talks, and even some of the participating countries were reluctant to agree to a comprehensive ban on cluster bombs.
Notwithstanding these adverse effects, the conference was successful thanks to the strenuous negotiations led by Cluster Munition Coalition member states, international humanitarian organizations, and NGOs.
Japan was the only country to continue to demand that certain types of weapons be made exempt. However, facing severe international as well as domestic criticisms, the demand was blocked. Then on the final day, it shifted its position to support the treaty.
Japanfs Air and Ground Self-Defense Forces have large amounts of cluster bombs. Now that the government voted for the treaty, it should take the initiative in abolishing all types of cluster munitions before December.
Japan which has constitutionally declared renunciation of war and the use of force as means of settling international disputes should take the lead in the effort to eliminate cluster bombs from all over the world.
The next international task is to get more countries to sign the treaty, so that non-member states, such as the U.S., will not be allowed to use cluster bombs.
- Akahata, June 2, 2008
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