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Religions for Peace Japan Welcomes Adoption of the Text of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by the United Nations

July 2017

In response to the adoption of the final draft of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in the United Nations, New York, on July 7, Religions for Peace Japan issued a statement on July 14, in which Ven. Gijun Sugitani, its chair and a supreme advisor to the Tendai Buddhist denomination, indicated support of the treaty.

The treaty will be the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons, with the goal of leading toward their total elimination. It prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as assistance and encouragement to the prohibited activities. In order to come into effect, signature and ratification by at least 50 countries is required.

For years, Religions for Peace Japan has continued to help promote various activities leading to the adoption of the treaty, including support for the March 2017 publication of the Nuclear Ban Treaty Negotiation Handbook, a project by Religions for Peace International and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an international NGO.

In the statement, Religions for Peace Japan emphasized the importance of supporting prohibition on the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, as stated in Article 1 of the treaty. Religions for Peace Japan also referred to the importance of the treaty preamble mentioning the suffering caused to the victims of the use of nuclear weapons (hibakusha), as well as those affected by the testing of nuclear weapons.

In the vote on the treaty text, 122 countries were in favor, with 1 vote against (Netherlands), and 1 abstention (Singapore). Sixty-nine countries did not vote, among them all of the nuclear weapon states and all NATO members except the Netherlands. Japan had boycotted negotiations to create the first global agreement to outlaw nuclear weapons. In its statement, Religions for Peace Japan also expressed serious concerns about the Japanese government's stance, precisely because Japan is the only nation in history to suffer a nuclear attack. 

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