Japan’s Kishida Raises Alarm over Possible Nuclear Arms Race

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, U.S., on Tuesday.

New York, Sept. 19 (Jiji Press)—Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at a high-level conference on the envisioned Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty in New York on Tuesday voiced concern over a potential nuclear arms race.

He urged the international community to maintain the trend of reducing nuclear weapons around the world. The event, aimed at calling for the launch of negotiations on the FMCT, was co-hosted by Japan, Australia and the Philippines.

The envisioned treaty calls for prohibiting the production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, both materials of nuclear arms, to prevent an increase in such weapons. FMCT negotiations have yet to start 30 years after it was proposed by then U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1993.

At Tuesday’s conference, Kishida said that a rapid enhancement of the nuclear capabilities in certain countries may ignite a nuclear arms race involving other nations. Touching on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which started in February 2022, and its threats to use nuclear weapons, Kishida warned that the world is on the brink of witnessing the decreasing trend in nuclear weapons being reversed for the first time since the height of the Cold War.

Political leaders need to rise to the occasion to maintain trust in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty regime, which is the foundation for nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, he said.

Kishida said he is confident that the event will lead to the early launch of FMCT negotiations and help revitalize and strengthen the NPT regime.

Australia and the Philippines, the co-hosts, were represented by their foreign ministers at the event.

Palau President Surangel Whipps was the only national leader present at the conference, other than Kishida.

Meanwhile, the United States, Britain and France, all nuclear powers, sent senior officials to the event.