On May 27, DPJ Secretary General Katsuya Okada met with the Co-Chair of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), Gareth Evans. The meeting was also attended by Next Minister of Foreign Affairs Yoshio Hachiro, Next Minister of Defence Keiichiro Asao, and member of the House of Representatives Hideo Hiraoka for the DPJ.
ICNND was established by Australia and Japan as a joint initiative in 2008, with former Australian Foreign Minister Evans and former Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi serving as Co-Chairs. The organisation intends to submit a report, including concrete recommendations on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and the peaceful use of nuclear power, prior to the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Conference.
At the start of the meeting, Okada welcomed the visitors, saying, “I am truly delighted that a general movement toward nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation has been created, as symbolised by US President Obama’s Prague speech. We are also seeing some moves that go against this trend, such as North Korea’s nuclear test. The ICNND is extremely important in ensuring that the international community works together toward the abolition of nuclear weapons. We would be interested in hearing your views on the current situation and would like to do our best to ensure that the ICNND is able to reach a fruitful conclusion.”
During the meeting, the two sides discussed the current state of and future prospects for the debate within the ICNND. Okada expressed the opinion that the Japanese government’s moves toward global nuclear abolition was lacking in specifics, and reported that he had made three proposals when debating with Prime Minister Taro Aso in the Committee on Budget in the House of Representatives, regarding the no-first use of nuclear weapons, prohibiting their use against countries that do not possess nuclear weapons, and in relation to the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty for North-East Asia.
Evans expressed the view that debate regarding issuing a statement on no-first use had started within the US administration. Hachiro commented on the possibility of a North-East Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty, saying that it would be a way for Japan to escape from the “nuclear umbrella”, and added that the DPJ wanted to lead efforts to bring about the abolition of nuclear weapons.