U.N. nuke ban treaty to enter effect Jan. 22, heaping pressure on Japan to join

U.N. nuke ban treaty to enter effect Jan. 22, heaping pressure on Japan to join

OSAKA – A United Nations treaty to ban nuclear weapons takes effect Jan. 22, following confirmation Saturday that Honduras had become the 50th state party to ratify the pact.

While hailed as an important step toward the actual abolition of nuclear weapons, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons remains strongly opposed by the United States and other nuclear powers. U.S. ally Japan has joined Washington in refusing to ratify the pact. But its entry into force could put pressure on Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government to join.

The 50th ratification came on the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II, as well as 75 years to the day of the ratification of the U.N. Charter, which officially established the United Nations.

Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima hibakusha and longtime activist, praised the news.

“I have committed my life to the abolition of nuclear weapons. I have nothing but gratitude for all who have worked for the success of our treaty,” Thurlow said in a statement

Thurlow is a leading campaigner with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) — the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize-winning coalition whose work helped spearhead the nuclear ban treaty.

“This is the first time in international law we have been so recognized. We share this recognition with other hibakusha across the world,” she added.