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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 May 14 - 20  > Japan must withdraw its proposal running counter to treaty banning cluster bombs
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2008 May 14 - 20 [PEACE]
editorial 

Japan must withdraw its proposal running counter to treaty banning cluster bombs

May 19, 2008
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The international cluster bomb conference is being held in Dublin, Ireland, May 19-30.

Countries calling for a ban on cluster munitions are to draft a treaty banning such weapons based on a series of discussions. In contrast, however, pro-cluster bomb countries like Japan, Germany, France, and Britain are strengthening their resistance to their total ban by submitting amendments that will allow cluster munitions to remain legal.

Cluster munitions are inhumane weapons. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described them as a weapon that flagrantly breaches international humanitarian law. It is natural for the international community to demand their total ban.

Japan is among the countries that are opposing a total ban on cluster munitions. The Japanese government plans to submit to the Dublin conference its proposal amended after the Wellington conference (February) to allow the use of cluster munitions if they eject no more than 10 smaller sub-munitions (bomblets), if they have less than one percent of probability of remaining on the ground as duds, if they are equipped with a destruct system or a precision-guided system, and if they are limited to use in restricted areas.

How absurd it is in the first place to condone the use of cluster munitions if they have less than one percent probability of becoming duds! If children pick up duds or if working adults step on them by accident, they will be blown up. They will be either killed or seriously injured. That is why the international community sees cluster munitions as inhumane weapons and calls for their total ban.

The Japanese government intends to preserve cluster munitions with Japan’s joint military operations with U.S. forces in mind. No one can say for sure that Japan will never use cluster munitions in the future outside of Japan.

Clearly, defending the possession of cluster bombs is in contravention of the constitutional principle of peace that calls for peaceful resolution of international disputes. Japan must withdraw its amended proposal to protect the atrocious weapons. Akahata, May 19, 2008
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