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Japan's parliament OKs bill to ratify arms trade treaty

Japan will soon join the Arms Trade Treaty, the first international pact to regulate trade in conventional arms, as the House of Councillors unanimously approved Wednesday a bill to ratify it. The treaty, adopted at the U.N. General Assembly in April last year, will regulate trade in weapons such as tanks, helicopters, combat aircraft and small arms.

U.N. seeks sanctions waiver to ship arms to Mali via Ivory Coast

By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations is seeking an exemption from a U.N. Security Council arms embargo on Ivory Coast so it can ship weapons and military equipment across the East African nation to its peacekeeping mission in landlocked Mali, a spokesman said on Thursday.

US actor Michael Douglas fronts disarmament initiative

Hollywood actor Michael Douglas urged young people to use social media to push for arms control on Tuesday, as he launched a United Nations educational booklet on proliferation aimed at school and college students. The book "Action for Disarmament: 10 Things You Can Do" offers a list of ways grass-roots activists can get involved in arms control efforts, such as organizing film screenings and discussion groups, or mounting a campaign via Twitter.

US actor Michael Douglas fronts disarmament initiative

Hollywood actor Michael Douglas urged young people to use social media to push for arms control on Tuesday, as he launched a United Nations educational booklet on proliferation aimed at school and college students. The book "Action for Disarmament: 10 Things You Can Do" offers a list of ways grass-roots activists can get involved in arms control efforts, such as organizing film screenings and discussion groups, or mounting a campaign via Twitter.

Foreign ministers discuss nuclear disarmament in Hiroshima

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida pledged his country's efforts toward nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament Saturday at a meeting of non-nuclear weapon countries in the city of Hiroshima. At the ministerial meeting, the 12-member Nonproliferation and Disarmament Initiative is expected to call on nuclear powers to scale back their arsenals and for world leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two Japanese cities devastated by U.S. atomic bombings in World War II.

Foreign ministers start nuclear disarmament talks in Hiroshima

Foreign ministers from a group of countries without nuclear weapons gathered Friday in Hiroshima for a two-day event to discuss nuclear arms reduction. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his Dutch counterpart Frans Timmermans and Australian counterpart Julie Bishop participated in discussions with students, representatives from nongovernmental organizations and local government leaders to start the event.

Japan's lower house approves bill to ratify arms trade treaty

The House of Representatives unanimously approved Thursday a bill to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, the first international pact to regulate trade in conventional arms, making certain of its Diet passage during the current session through late June. Japan's Constitution states that decisions on budgets and treaties by the lower house override those of the upper house. The treaty, adopted at the U.N. General Assembly in April last year, will regulate trade in weapons such as tanks, helicopters, combat aircraft and small arms.

Eighteen countries ratify UN treaty on arms trade

A total of 18 countries filed documents Wednesday ratifying a UN treaty to regulate the $80-billion-a-year conventional arms trade. One year after the Arms Trade Treaty was adopted by the General Assembly, 31 countries have ratified it. The treaty will take effect once 50 UN member states ratify it. So far, 118 countries have signed it. "It is fair to say that at the current pace of signature and ratification, the ATT could well enter into force in the second half of this year," said Virginia Gamba, deputy to the UN high representative for disarmament affairs.

China, S. Korea call for transparency in Japan's arms export rules

South Korea called on Japan on Tuesday to have "the maximum level of transparency" in implementing newly adopted principles and guidelines on arms exports, a sentiment echoed later in the day in China. "As a pacifist nation, Japan is expected to adhere to basic principles and implement them into a direction of contributing peace and stability in the international community in a careful manner," South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai Young said during a press briefing.

Japan's ruling bloc approves new rules on arms exports

Japan's ruling parties approved Tuesday new guidelines on arms exports, setting the stage for the first major overhaul in nearly 50 years of the country's arms embargo policy. The government is expected to seek Cabinet approval for the new arms export control guidelines next week, while concerns remain that Japan's status as a pacifist state will be undermined without proper checks.
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