GENEVA--Japan’s draft resolution this year for the elimination of nuclear weapons has baffled members of the United Nations over its watered-down wording, unclear intention and frequent criticism of North Korea, sources said.

The draft makes no mention of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It also contains no reference to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an international nongovernmental organization that won the Nobel Peace Prize this year for its contribution to the United Nations’ adoption of that treaty, according to the draft obtained by The Asahi Shimbun.

Every year since 1994, the Japanese government has submitted a resolution for the elimination of nuclear weapons to the U.N. General Assembly. These resolutions have had a symbolic meaning coming from the only country in the world to have suffered from atomic bombings.

But the draft for the resolution that Japan plans to submit to the U.N. General Assembly this year has already drawn a backlash behind the scenes from countries that support the anti-nuclear weapons treaty, according to sources involved in disarmament issues.

Some representatives are confused about the purpose of the draft, the sources said.

The draft has circulated among U.N. member states. It expresses the government’s stance as of Oct. 8.

The Japanese government is in the final stage of deciding on expressions used in the resolution, so it could modify sentences at the last minute to increase support for it.

Japan’s resolution in 2016 gained the approval of 167 of the 193 member countries of the United Nations.

For this year’s resolution, the government added to the preamble, “… bearing in mind there are various approaches towards the realization of a world free of nuclear weapons.”

This expression might have been added to justify Japan’s decision not to join the 122 countries that approved the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that was adopted at the United Nations in July this year.

Previous Japanese resolutions centered on sentences specifying the need for the elimination of nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament.

In this year’s draft, however, those sentences were drastically weakened. Expressions on the obligations of nuclear powers to promote a world free of nuclear weapons are now vague.

On the other hand, the draft has strengthened references to security.

North Korea, in fact, is mentioned 13 times in the draft.

The draft describes North Korea’s ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests as “unprecedented, grave and imminent threats to the peace and security of the region and the world.”

As for ICAN, based in Geneva, the Norwegian Nobel Committee highly appreciated its efforts toward the U.N. adoption of the treaty.

Japan, which has long pushed for a nuclear-free world but still relies on the U.S. nuclear umbrella for its security, appeared caught off-guard when the committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN.

“The activities that have been conducted by ICAN are different from the Japanese government’s approach,” a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.