Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A Japanese member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, called on the government on Wednesday to sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty.
Akira Kawasaki, a 48-year-old member of ICAN’s international steering group, told a press conference in Tokyo that he feels regretful and disappointed that Japan has not signed the landmark treaty.
ICAN, a global coalition of nongovernmental organizations, won the prize for its contributions to the adoption of the treaty in July. Nuclear weapons states and nuclear umbrella states, including Japan, did not take part in negotiations on the treaty.
In the press conference, Kawasaki referred to North Korea’s nuclear development program.
Countries are only focusing on “how bad North Korea is as a nation, and are forgetting how bad nuclear weapons are,” Kawasaki said.
He rated high the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to grant the prize to ICAN, noting that the committee is “trying to refocus on the real problem” that “complete prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons is the real pathway to go.”
“Many people who were not talking about the issue [on the abolition of nuclear weapons] started to talk” on social media, after the announcement that ICAN was chosen as the prizewinner, Kawasaki said, expressing hopes that such discussions will be promoted.