Japan to replace cluster bomb arsenal (Japan)

TOKYO, June 22 (UPI) -- Japanese officials say they're preparing to replace the nation's arsenal of cluster bombs in anticipation of a treaty that aims to ban them as inhumane.


Unnamed sources told the Yomiuri Shimbun Sunday Japan's defense ministry will replace its existing cluster bombs with a new type that poses far fewer hazards to civilians. The move comes in the wake of Japan's endorsement of a draft treaty signed in Dublin that would outlaw the production and use of cluster bombs.

Japan has favored cluster bombs because they're useful in defending long stretches of coastline. But with the new treaty, military officials will opt for a new type of cluster bomb that contains far fewer deadly "bomblets," which critics say can lay dormant for years until triggered by unsuspecting civilians.

The newer bombs, the newspaper said, contains bomblets with self-destruct mechanisms. Japan is now figuring out a deployment plan comprised of up to six directives instructing its self-defense forces on how to replace the old cluster bombs, Yomiuri Shimbun said.

Von: 22.6.2008, www.upi.com

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