Japan announced this week having destroyed its entire stockpile of cluster munitions. As a State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Japan had until 1 August 2018 to finish destroying its stocks. The task was completed way ahead of the obligatory deadline. Congratulations, omedetou gozaimasu!
With this important accomplishment, Japan joins the United Kingdom, Denmark, Chile, The Netherlands, Belgium, Ecuador and many other countries that have destroyed their entire stockpiles of cluster munitions, ensuring these unacceptable weapons can never be used again.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that the destruction was completed on 9 February 2015. The President-Designate of the First Review Conference of the Convention, Croatia, welcomed the good news from Japan and encouraged other States Parties to follow the example.
All States Parties to the Convention that are currently in the process of destroying their stockpiles have indicated that they will meet their obligatory deadlines. Over 80% of these states’ cluster munitions have been destroyed already.
According to Albania and France, who coordinate a working group on the issue: “States’ achievements to date … highlight stockpile destruction as a success story of this Convention, directly contributing to its aims of preventing the proliferation and use of cluster munitions.” (Vientiane Action Plan Review)
Japan is an important donor for the clearance of cluster munition remnants in affected countries, and for assistance to survivors. “But at least three major financial institutions in Japan still invest in producers of cluster munitions abroad,” said Suzanne Oosterwijk from PAX (The Netherlands) who coordinates the Stop Explosive Investments initiative together with the CMC. “It is high time for Japan to adopt strong legal measures prohibiting investments in companies that produce these weapons.”
Japan participated in the Oslo Process that created the Convention and its position evolved significantly over time to allow it to join in the consensus adoption in 2008. It has continued to actively engage in the work of the Convention on Cluster Munitions since then.