Practice Relating to Rule 74. Chemical Weapons
Japan’s Law on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (1995) provides:
1.No person shall manufacture chemical weapons.
2.No person shall possess, assign or take over chemical weapons.
3.No person shall manufacture, possess, assign or take over toxic chemicals or chemicals having toxicity equivalent thereto or raw materials of these chemicals with the aim to supply for the manufacture of chemical weapons.
4.No person shall manufacture, possess, assign or take over parts used exclusively for chemical weapons or machinery and equipment used exclusively in case of the use of chemical weapons, which are provided for by Cabinet Order.
Japan’s Law on the Prevention of Personal Injury Caused by Sarin (1995) prohibits the production, importation and use of sarin, and provides for a severe prison sentence for offenders.
In its judgment in the Shimoda case
in 1963, Japan’s District Court of Tokyo held that the use of poisonous gases was prohibited.
According to a commentator, gas was allegedly used by Japan in the Sino-Japanese War (1937–1943), even though Japan has never admitted this.
China protested several times to the Council of the League of Nations about these breaches of international law.
In 1968, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Japan argued in favour of prohibiting not only the use of chemical weapons, but also their production and stockpiling.
In 1987, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Japan stated that it was committed to a global ban on chemical weapons.
In 1988, in a statement before the Fifteenth Special Session of the UN General Assembly, Japan stated:
Chemical weapons, in particular, are weapons of mass destruction which kill and injure people with their potent toxicity. They are also extremely dangerous because they are easy to produce and use. It is profoundly regrettable that these heinous weapons have actually been used, for example, in the conflict between Iran and Iraq, despite the prohibition of their use in war under an international convention … In order to prevent totally the use of these weapons, it is essential that their stockpiling and production be prohibited and, indeed, that they be eliminated globally.
In 1993, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Japan stated that it “attached great importance to the prohibition of chemical weapons”.
In its oral pleadings before the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case
in 1995, Japan referred to the 1925 Geneva Gas Protocol when stating: “The use of weapons of mass destruction … is prohibited by international declarations and binding agreements. These principles serve the foundation for the concept of humane treatment.”
At the First Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997, Japan stated: “In order to effectively achieve the objectives of the Convention to eliminate chemical weapons, it is essential to ensure the universality of this Convention.” For this reason, Japan urged the urgent participation of as many countries as possible in the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. It further reconfirmed its good intentions by once more emphasizing its commitment to global chemical disarmament.
For the last five years, steady progress has been made with the destruction of chemical weapon stockpiles. Japan welcomes the completion of the destruction of over 96.5% of the total of declared category 1 chemical weapons.
Japan firmly denounces and cannot tolerate the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anytime, anywhere and under any circumstances. The perpetrators must be brought to justice.
In the Fourth Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties held in June this year, the States Parties decided to establish an arrangement in the OPCW to identify those who use chemical weapons. Japan attaches crucial importance to the full implementation of this decision. The decision better serves not only the identification of those responsible for use of chemical weapons, but also the deterrence from their use, thus may lead to reinforcing the Convention regime as a whole.