Gov't gives green light to bill banning production, possession of cluster bombs (Japan)
The government approved a bill to ban the production and possession of cluster bombs at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
The bill is aimed at implementing the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), which Japan and other countries signed in December last year. The government is aiming to enact the bill and ratify the convention during the current Diet session.
The latest development suggests that Japan, which had initially been negative toward conclusion of the CCM, wants to make a global impression with active involvement in arms reduction by heralding a move to implement the convention among industrialized nations. A Japanese Foreign Ministry official described Tokyo's quick move as "unprecedented."
So far, only four states -- Norway, Ireland, Vatican City and Sierra Leone -- have ratified the convention, according to the Foreign Ministry. Leading signatories such as Britain, Germany, France and Italy have been lagging behind in the ratification process because of the global financial crisis, officials of nongovernmental organizations and other sources said.
The bill imposes a blanket ban on the production of cluster munitions, as well as prohibiting the possession of such weapons except in cases where they are used to develop munitions-removal technology. The measure also obliges Japan to dispose of all cluster munitions it possesses. The Self-Defense Forces plan to scrap the country's cluster munitions within eight years after the convention comes into effect.
The bill, along with a ratification bill for the convention, will be separately deliberated at the committees of both chambers of the Diet.