Australia, Japan, and the Philippines have all urged the international community to begin talks on a convention that would limit the manufacture of fissile materials that can be used to make nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons require fissile materials, which are chemicals that may undergo fission processes. Highly enriched uranium and plutonium are the two fissile elements used in nuclear bombs the most commonly. Fumio Kishida, the prime minister of Japan, pledged to take the initiative to restart the international nuclear disarmament campaign by urging nuclear weapon states to hold talks with non-nuclear weapon states. The fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT) event was co-hosted by the Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, the Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, and the Phillipines Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo on the sidelines of the 78th UN General Assembly on September 19. The stance of these three states on nuclear weapons was that no nuclear weapons programme existed in Japan. It has passed internal legislation outlawing the production of nuclear weapons and is a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signatory in good standing. The Philippine Constitution’s Article II Section 8 outlaws the use of nuclear weapons in the country. As a signatory to the Biological Weapons Convention, the Philippines prohibits the import and manufacture of all biological weapons. Australia does not currently have nuclear weapons and has no plans to acquire them. The NPT outlines Australia’s primary responsibilities as a state without nuclear weapons. It can be perceived as a milestone in disarmament as Japan will donate 3 billion yen ($20 million) to a fund to establish Japan Chairs at foreign research institutes and think tanks to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. The goal is to restart the conversation and end the polarized discussion between deterrence and disarmament. Japan has taken the lead in efforts by the international community to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation since it is the only nation to have experienced atomic bombardment during a war. Japan must spearhead international efforts for nuclear disarmament at this time when the global security situation is unpredictable, and to keep taking proactive steps to realize a world free of nuclear weapons. According to the DFA Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippines has maintained its position that an FMCT must be negotiated without delay and any conditions and until an FMCT enters into force, plans must be made to impose a five-year moratorium on new uranium enrichment and plutonium separation facilities.
Since the height of the Cold War, the risk of a nuclear weapon being used has never been higher, and at the same time, the regime designed to stop it has never been fragile, according to Izumi Nakamitsu, the UN’s High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. She added that there was also a lack of discussion and trust. The pursuit of disarmament is a core pillar of multilateral efforts rather than being pursued in technical silos, pointing out that it is crucial to the larger goal of peace, security, and development. A world free of nuclear weapons is becoming more difficult to achieve as a result of widening national divisions and after the Ukrainian War. In light of this, it is in the interests of the world community to preserve and strengthen the NPT. A strong foundation for a world free of nuclear weapons is provided by the recent “Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament” of the Group of Seven Leaders. International community must revive the treaty prohibiting the manufacturing of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. The Philippines, Japan, and Australia’s request for negotiations on an FMCT highlights the significance of international collaboration in halting the spread of nuclear weapons and advancing global disarmament efforts. The necessity for such a pact is becoming more essential as the global community deals with ongoing security issues. An FMCT lies at the heart of the international non-proliferation efforts; the implementation of a treaty would strengthen international non-proliferation efforts. States should not believe that discussions on such a treaty cannot begin; rather, they must have the political will to do so. Furthermore, the FMCT should be pursued in order to foster confidence among nations. Countries which haven’t declared a voluntary halt to the manufacturing of fissile materials for nuclear weapons ought to be urged to do so. Nazia Sheikh
An FMCT lies at the heart of the international non-proliferation efforts; the implementation of a treaty would strengthen international non-proliferation efforts. States should not believe that discussions on such a treaty cannot begin; rather, they must have the political will to do so. Furthermore, the FMCT should be pursued in order to foster confidence among nations. Countries which haven’t declared a voluntary halt to the manufacturing of fissile materials for nuclear weapons ought to be urged to do so.