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A-bomb survivors disappointed with nuclear weapons conference flop

Atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Saturday expressed anger and disappointment that the parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty were unable to make progress toward the elimination of nuclear weapons while gathered at the United Nations.
The breakdown Friday of the NPT review conference at the U.N. headquarters suggests "disarmament has stalled," said Toshiyuki Mimaki, head of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-Bomb Sufferers Organizations.
"This situation, if left unchanged, will bring sadness to humans and the world," Mimaki, 80, said.
"The NPT is aimed at achieving disarmament," he said. "I believe each country is aware of the damage from atomic bombs and nuclear tests, but I don't understand why they can't reach an agreement."
Mimaki traveled to New York in 2010 and 2015 for the NPT review conference, but did not do so this time and was closely monitoring developments at home.
After last-minute opposition from Russia, the latest meeting failed to reach a consensus for the second consecutive edition, following the same outcome at the previous session held in 2015.
The failure was attributed to Moscow's opposition to approving a draft report and Mimaki said nuclear superpowers "are doing what they want and no brakes have been applied" to stop them.
Terumi Tanaka, co-chairman of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, said at his home in Niiza, Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, that he felt it is "extremely regrettable" when he learned of the outcome of the conference.
Tanaka, 90, who survived the U.S. atomic bombing in Nagasaki at age 13, criticized Japan for its lack of action, saying the government "has no proactive vision" to serve as a bridge between nuclear and non-nuclear powers, a position the Japanese government has long been touting.
Echoing the view, Koichi Kawano, chairman of the A-bomb victims liaison council at Nagasaki Prefecture's peace movement center, said Japan should remove itself from under the nuclear umbrella provided by the United States and find a way to persuade other countries to do the same.
Kawano, 82, was concerned that advocates of expansion of nuclear armaments and those supporting nuclear disarmament may not find common ground even if they continue talks.
"I would have wanted participating countries to go back to the original objective of the NPT, which is to reduce nuclear weapons," he said.
Yuta Takahashi, a 21-year-old university student who addressed an NPT conference session earlier this month as a youth representative, said the final draft was "watered-down" after being repeatedly revised.
"It became obvious that nuclear powers as well as (U.S.) allies such as Japan underestimate the value of disarmament," said Takahashi, who hails from Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture.


© KYODO
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