Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is considering attending the upcoming review conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons slated to be held in New York in August, a government source said Friday.
If Kishida joins the conference, he will become the first Japanese premier ever to do so. He is planning to deliver a speech early in the month as the gathering runs from Aug. 1 to Aug. 26, the source said.
Kishida, elected from a constituency in Hiroshima, one of the two Japanese cities devastated by U.S. nuclear bombs in 1945, is seen as eager for Japan to play a role in bringing nuclear and non-nuclear states together for accords toward achieving a world without nuclear weapons.
After assessing the feasibility of attending the parley while also taking into account parliamentary schedules following the House of Councillors election likely to be held in July, the prime minister will make a final decision on the plan, the source said.
The NPT, joined by about 190 countries, is the world's most widely ratified nuclear arms control agreement. Its review conferences involving both nuclear and non-nuclear states, as well as survivors of the atomic bombings and civic groups, had been held every five years from 1975 to 2015.
The meeting originally set to be held in 2020 has been pushed back repeatedly due to the coronavirus pandemic and is now scheduled to take place this summer.
The NPT requires the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- to commit to nuclear disarmament. Three other nuclear-weapon states -- India, Israel and Pakistan -- have not joined the pact.
North Korea, another nuclear-weapon state, pulled out of the treaty in 2003.
During the most recent NPT review conference in 2015, Kishida participated in the event as Japan's foreign minister and delivered a speech urging world leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- the two atomic-bombed Japanese cities -- while calling for more efforts toward nuclear disarmament.
In another international effort to curb nuclear weapons arsenals around the world, a U.N. treaty banning nuclear weapons entered into force in January 2021.
While the launch of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was hailed for providing a boost to the global nuclear disarmament movement, its effectiveness has been in question as no nuclear-armed states have joined it.
Japan, the only country that has suffered the devastation of atomic bombings, has also avoided the pact, given its protection by U.S. nuclear forces in the face of regional security threats such as North Korea's nuclear and missile development.