Japan’s Foreign Minister Announces New Group of Nations Working to Prohibit Production of Raw Materials for Nuclear Weapons

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa delivers a speech at the U.N. Security Council Ministerial Briefing on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation in New York on Monday.

NEW YORK — Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa announced the creation of “FMCT Friends,” a group of nations that support prohibiting the production of raw materials for nuclear weapons, prior to the start of the negotiations for the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, at a U.N. ministerial-level meeting in New York on Monday.

Twelve countries, including the G7 nations — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom — decided to join the group. So did Australia, Brazil, Holland, Nigeria and the Philippines.

Of these nations, France, the United States and the United Kingdom possess nuclear weapons.

“I am delighted to announce the establishment of the FMCT Friends,” Kamikawa said at the U.N. Security Council Ministerial Briefing on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. Japan aims to take the initiative to increase momentum for nuclear disarmament.

“The importance of an FMCT in limiting the quantitative improvement of nuclear weapons by banning the production of fissile materials is indisputable,” Kamikawa said, calling for the start of the FMCT negotiations.

The United States proposed the FMCT in 1993, but the negotiations have not begun due to differences in countries’ opinions over issues such as the definition of the raw materials of nuclear weapons.

In her speech, Kamikawa also expressed concern about the possibility of the use of artificial intelligence in operating and managing nuclear weapons, and she called for “the commitment to maintain human control and

involvement,” with China and Russia, both nuclear weapon states, in mind.

Japan chairs the Security Council in March, and Kamikawa chaired the ministerial-level meeting.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield expressed concern at the meeting saying that “Russia has irresponsibly invoked dangerous nuclear rhetoric” and “China has rapidly and opaquely built up and diversified its nuclear weapons stores.”

“Nuclear weapons states must provide transparency into their programs and engage with one another to reduce the risk of nuclear conflict,” Thomas-Greenfield said at the meeting.

She also expressed the U.S. intention to join with Japan in submitting a resolution to the Security Council calling on countries not to deploy nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction in outer space. The United States believes that Russia is building a capability to attack satellites in outer space.

Russia and China vehemently opposed the move. China’s Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun said China will not participate in a race to expand nuclear arms, but it will maintain its nuclear strategy for self-defense. Russia’s First Deputy Permanent Representative to the U.N. Dmitry Polyanskiy insisted that the claims by the Western countries are out of touch with reality.