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2010年5月 5日 (水)

NPT会議 核不拡散の強化を打ち出せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (May. 5, 2010)
Strengthen NPT regime for sake of global security
NPT会議 核不拡散の強化を打ち出せ(5月4日付・読売社説)

How can we stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons, which threatens global security?

A U.N. conference to review the performance of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which began in New York on Monday and runs through May 28, provides an important opportunity to implement tangible measures toward that goal.

The NPT is an international agreement aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

By limiting nuclear weapon states to just the five countries that tested nuclear weapons before 1967--Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States--and committing all the signatories to nuclear nonproliferation, the treaty inhibits the further appearance of such states.

About 190 countries, including Japan, currently belong to the treaty, which came into force 40 years ago.

However, the NPT regime has been seriously undermined recently.

North Korea conducted nuclear weapons tests twice after announcing its withdrawal from the pact, and has set a dangerous precedent of developing nuclear arms under the guise of the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Iran also violated the treaty by avoiding inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency and enriching uranium. It has continued enriching uranium in repeated defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding the country stop, trying to follow a similar course to that of North Korea.

Nuclear materials have been traded, and technology to produce nuclear bombs has spread in the global black market. This has increased the risk of rogue nations and terrorist organizations arming themselves with nuclear weapons.


Cooperation vital

It is essential for the safety of the world to rebuild the NPT regime, a linchpin for preventing the global proliferation of nuclear arms. Member nations should try to agree on practical measures to enhance the NPT at the ongoing conference.

To realize this, nuclear weapon and nonnuclear weapon states have to cooperate with each other. Nuclear powers should more swiftly fulfill their obligations to reduce their stores of nuclear weapons, while nonnuclear weapon states must prove they are not developing nuclear arms through IAEA inspections.

International cooperation toward the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons can be enhanced only if both sides tackle the issue seriously. But the current international situation does not allow us to be optimistic.

The biggest destabilizing factor is Iran. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended the U.N. conference to stop the adoption of a final consensus document for the event, which in principle requires a unanimous vote.


Middle East frustrated

Japan and some European countries will demand at the conference the universalization of additional protocols, including provisions to reinforce the IAEA's powers to conduct inspections, and measures to prevent the misuse of announcements that countries are withdrawing from the NPT. More than a few developing countries are cautious, however, seeing this as interference from advanced countries.

Middle Eastern countries are very frustrated with the United States and European countries that play up the Iranian issue but do not acknowledge Israel's nuclear development because Israel is not a NPT signatory.

If mistrust grows between NPT members, their solidarity for nonproliferation will weaken.

If this latest conference becomes a mere duplication of the previous gathering, which ended in failure, it will simply allow countries that violate the NPT, such as North Korea and Iran, to run rampant. A strong current must be created toward the enhancement of nuclear nonproliferation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 4, 2010)
(2010年5月4日01時18分  読売新聞)


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