Japan boycotted the TPNW negotiations in 2017 and has consistently voted against the annual UN General Assembly resolution on the Treaty, including in 2022. Japan may sign and ratify or accede to the TPNW, but will have to make changes to its policies and practices to become compliant.
At the Tenth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in August 2022, Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida said: ‘As a Prime Minister from Hiroshima, I believe that we must take every realistic measure towards a world without nuclear weapons step by step, however difficult the path may be.’2
In the First Committee of the UN General Assembly in October 2022, Japan submitted a draft annual resolution entitled ‘Steps to building a common roadmap towards a world without nuclear weapons’, which for the first time acknowledged the adoption, opening for signature and entry into force of the TPNW, as well as the convening of its 1MSP.3 However, Japan emphasised that it has ‘not changed its national position on the TPNW’, which it also described as ‘an important treaty that could be regarded as a final passage to a world without nuclear weapons’.4
- Japan should renounce the possession and potential use of nuclear weapons on its behalf, and ensure that nuclear weapons do not have a role in its defence posture.
- Japan should comply with its existing obligation under Article VI of the NPT and pursue negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament.
- Japan should urgently adhere to the TPNW. Until it is in a position to do so, it should welcome the TPNW as a valuable component in the global disarmament and non-proliferation architecture, work with the Treaty's states parties on practical steps towards disarmament, and attend the meetings of states parties as an observer.