The U.N. General Assembly on Monday adopted a Japan-sponsored resolution calling for the total elimination of nuclear arms for the 28th consecutive year.
The resolution did not mention the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the pact outlawing the development, testing, possession and use of such arms that took effect in January, in consideration of the United States, which provides Japan with nuclear deterrence.
In the vote, 158 countries supported the resolution, eight more than last year, while four countries opposed it and 27 abstained.
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, all of which possess nuclear weapons, were divided in their response. Britain, the United States and France backed the resolution, while China and Russia opposed it.
The resolution includes phrasing about "bearing in mind" the fact that "various approaches exist towards the realization of a world without nuclear weapons and that confidence-building among all States is essential to this end."
It also uses the word "recognizing" in reference to the "catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from the use of nuclear weapons," an expression included in the previous year's resolution and weaker than the "deep concern" mentioned in 2019.
Meanwhile, the General Assembly also adopted a resolution in support of the entering into force of the nuclear prohibition treaty. It was backed by 128 countries, while 42 opposed it and 16 countries abstained.
Japan, the only country that has suffered atomic bombings, voted against the resolution, along with countries possessing nuclear arms.
Protected by the so-called U.S. nuclear umbrella against security threats, Japan has distanced itself from the anti-nuclear pact, despite repeated calls from survivors of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 to join the accord.