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2008年12月 5日 (金)

社説:クラスター爆弾 地球で使えない兵器となれ

(Mainichi Japan) December 4, 2008

Cluster bomb ban a huge step in the right direction

社説:クラスター爆弾 地球で使えない兵器となれ

The signing of a treaty banning the use of cluster bombs, which indiscriminately kill and injure civilians, took place in Oslo, Norway, on Wednesday. At least 92 nations, including Japan, have so far signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions. We salute the signing of this legally binding treaty, which forbids the use, production and possession of cluster bombs.


Humanity has declared certain inhumane weapons illegal in order to contain the cruel ravages of war, and numerous treaties have been drafted to protect innocent civilians from being victimized by war. The signing of this treaty signals a new victory in the history of international humanitarian law, and an achievement for the 21st century.


The preface to the treaty declares it to be based upon the rules of international law, which state that "the right of parties to an armed conflict to choose methods or means of warfare is not unlimited" and that "the civilian population and individual civilians enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations." We hope that these rules will be extended to strengthen the international commitment to prevent the wanton killing and maiming of civilians.


The Japanese government originally asserted that the Self-Defense Forces was justified in its possession of cluster bombs, but switched policy during the final stages of negotiations for the treaty. We laud the new policy, which is in line with the Mainichi Shimbun's call for a total ban on cluster bombs and more aid for the worldwide victims of these bombs. At least 30 countries must ratify the treaty in order for it to take effect, and we certainly hope that Japan will be among the first 30 nations to do so.


The Japanese government has not yet released detailed information about its own cluster bombs. The treaty requires signatory nations to provide the United Nations with a detailed account of the number and types of bombs it possesses. Since this information will eventually be revealed in any case, the government should immediately provide its citizens with a detailed report of the bombs in its possession.


The treaty asks member nations to encourage non-signatory nations to sign on to the treaty. Member nations also have a commitment to discourage non-signatory nations from using the weapons they have. The Japanese government should adhere to these guidelines and urge the U.S. to prohibit the use of cluster bombs. Diplomatic efforts to persuade non-signatory nations such as the U.S., China and Russia to join the treaty are also needed.


The treaty will function as an international standard by which the use of cluster bombs will be condemned by international opinion, even when they are used by non-signatory nations. Just as landmines became effectively unusable after the Landmine Ban Treaty, it is to be hoped that cluster bombs will also become impossible to use anywhere in the world. We hope that Japan will play a major role in achieving this goal.


U.S. military forces have not used cluster bombs since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. We ask the next U.S. administration, to be led by President-elect Barack Obama, to implement a policy change similar to Japan's and to sign on to the treaty.


The Convention on Cluster Munitions was achieved not only through the efforts of pro-ban governments, but by the promotional work of the Cluster Munition Coaltion (CMC), an international non-governmental organization. The universal significance of the treaty is supported by the fact that it was not only diplomats representing specific national interests who participated in its creation, but ordinary citizens as well. The "Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines," a member of the CMC, worked actively for the realization of the treaty, by inviting Serbian victims of the bombs to Japan and urging Diet members to support the ban. Thus, the role of private citizens in changing the direction of government policy is also worthy of praise.


毎日新聞 2008123日 東京朝刊


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