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Japan maps out path to nuclear-free world

Sunday, October 15, 2000
THE JAPAN TIMES: © All rights reserved

NEW YORK (Kyodo) Japan has proposed a road map for eliminating the world's nuclear arsenal in a draft resolution submitted to the disarmament committee of the U.N. Millennium General Assembly.

The draft resolution--titled "A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons"--was submitted Friday in line with a pledge Foreign Minister Yohei Kono made to the United Nations in September.

The Japanese government worked on the proposal following a commitment the world's nuclear-armed nations made at the U.N. nuclear nonproliferation conference last May to eliminate their nuclear arsenals as an "unequivocal undertaking."

Amplifying a series of nuclear disarmament proposals Japan has made since 1994, the draft calls for putting the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty into force by 2003 and an immediate start of negotiations for a "cutoff treaty" to ban production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, for adoption by 2005.

It calls for immediate implementation of the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-2) and an early conclusion of negotiations for a START-3 pact.

The Japanese proposal, reflecting the language used at the U.N. nonproliferation conference last May, calls for "preserving and strengthening" the 1972 antiballistic missile treaty, which bans the deployment of national missile defense systems.

The proposal calls on states with nuclear weapons to reduce the operation status of their arms.

The draft resolution calls for the development of verification capabilities to ensure compliance with nuclear disarmament agreements.

It also calls for efforts to curb proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deploy them, pointing out that terrorist groups, or "non-state actors," that may have an interest in obtaining nuclear materials should be blocked from doing so.

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