Yamaguchi meets with senior UN envoy for disarmament

August 4 , 2018

On August 3, Komeito Chief Representative Natsuo Yamaguchi met with United Nations Under-Secretary-General Izumi Nakamitsu, who also serves as the UN’s High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, in Tokyo. The two exchanged opinions on such topics as the Agenda for Disarmament Agenda that UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced in May this year.

Attending the meeting from Komeito were Acting Secretary General Tetsuo Saito; Masayoshi Hamada, head of Komeito’s committee to advance nuclear abolition; and Taniai Masaaki, deputy chief of the International Office.

The agenda consists of three priorities: (1) weapons of mass destruction, (2) conventional weapons and (3) new battlefield technologies. The top priority for agenda’s first pillar remains nuclear disarmament, and it calls for a united front on advancing disarmament overall.

Yamaguchi described the agenda’s announcement as “well-timed” as it was issued amid a standoff between nuclear and non-nuclear powers over the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons the UN passed in July 2017.

Under-Secretary-General Nakamitsu asked for Japan’s cooperation on “disarmament to save lives,” which aims to regulate conventional arms, given the opportunity for Japan to host the 4th Conference of States Parties (August 20-24) to the Arms Trade Treaty. The Komeito leader agreed, saying the party would lend its full support.

With regard to the agenda’s third pillar, Ms. Nakamitsu cited the challenges involving the development of robotic weapons utilizing artificial intelligence (AI), and spoke of the possibility for the UN to set protocols restricting such technologies.

The under-secretary-general also asked for Japanese support in completing a document on the results of the Review Conference to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 2020. She then urged Japan, the only country in the world to endure a nuclear attack, to take the lead in establishing lines of dialogue to reconcile the differences between the nuclear and non-nuclear powers.

As to North Korea, Ms. Nakamitsu and Yamaguchi agreed that while the recent summit meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un was a positive development, international cooperation to facilitate denuclearization was essential.

In their meeting, Yamaguchi reaffirmed Komeito’s position on antipersonnel mines, seeking their removal from a humanitarian perspective.