VIENNA – Japan and Kazakhstan have been designated by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization to lead the international efforts to implement the agreement.
The two nations were chosen unanimously at a meeting of the member states in Vienna, according to a communique released Tuesday by the organization.
Japan’s ambassador to the international organizations in Vienna, Mitsuru Kitano, emphasized that “this year is the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
Japan is the only country that has suffered the consequences of an atomic strike and, therefore, “it wants to lead the efforts of the international community for the attainment of a world free of nuclear weapons, including the efforts to implement the CTBT,” the diplomat added.
The ambassador of Kazakhstan, Kairat Sarybay, said that “in 2016 will be the 10th anniversary of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty” approved in the Kazakh city of Semey, and the 20th anniversary of the start of the process of signing the CTBT.
Semipalatinsk, the Kazakh region where the former Soviet Union conducted nuclear tests that affected the local population, was the reason that President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1992 renounced the possession of nuclear weapons, according to the Kazakh diplomat.
The foreign ministers of the two countries will jointly preside at the next Article XIV conference, to take place Sept. 29 in New York and the aim of which will be to effect the treaty’s entry into force.
Japan and Kazakhstan will also coordinate international efforts to implement the CTBT over a period of two years after the conference.
The treaty was opened for signing in New York on Sept. 24, 1996.
Since then, 183 countries have signed it and 159 of those have ratified it, including 36 of the 44 states with nuclear programs, whose ratification of the pact is essential for its implementation.
Ratification is still pending by the United States, China, Egypt, Iran and Israel, who have signed the treaty, while Pakistan, India – who conducted its most recent nuclear test in 1998 – and North Korea have never been party to the pact.
By Jan. 16, 2007, all the countries of Europe had ratified the pact.
Despite the fact that the treaty is not fully operational, the Vienna-based CTBT Organization has a network of some 300 monitoring stations to detect any nuclear testing conducted anywhere on the planet.