A-bomb survivors urge action from Japan govt. ahead of 80th anniversary

A group of atomic bomb survivors and NGOs has urged Japan's government to take concrete action toward the abolition of nuclear weapons ahead of next year's 80th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Representatives of the Japan NGO Network for Nuclear Weapons Abolition visited the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo on Tuesday. The group consists of atomic bomb survivors and civil society organizations working for abolition. They handed a letter of request to a senior ministry official in charge of disarmament.

The letter notes that Japan has a huge role to play as the nuclear threat grows worldwide. It makes a five-point request to the government for a meeting this month in Switzerland of a preparatory committee for the next review conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons or NPT.

The group members are calling on the government to urge nuclear powers to implement their obligation under the treaty to take part in nuclear disarmament negotiations. They also want the countries to adopt a "no first use" policy-- a commitment not to use the weapons first.

The group also wants the Japanese government to stress the importance of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty bans the development, possession, and use of nuclear armaments. It came into force in 2021. But the five major nuclear powers, and countries that fall under the US nuclear umbrella, including Japan, have not joined the treaty.

The ministry official said maintaining and strengthening the NPT framework benefits the international community, and vowed to take a realistic approach toward a world without nuclear weapons, as Japan is the world's only country to have suffered atomic bombings.

The group said the official gave no direct response to its requests at their closed-door meeting.

Tanaka Terumi, co-chairperson of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, serves as the group's co-representative. He told reporters after the meeting that they had hoped for a clear response as the 80th anniversary approaches.

He said he wants the government to clarify its stance in today's increasingly severe nuclear environment.