A draft resolution on the elimination of nuclear weapons, proposed by the Japanese government to the U.N. General Assembly earlier this month, is causing ripples around the world.

The draft has betrayed the international community's trust in Japan, the world's only victim of nuclear weapons.

We say this because the document makes no mention of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted in July by 122 nations. In addition, the proposal's language has been considerably toned down where it calls for nuclear disarmament by the world's nuclear powers.

For the past 24 years, Japan has religiously proposed draft resolutions on the elimination of nuclear weapons to the U.N. General Assembly every year. Last year's draft resolution received the support of 167 nations.

But this year's proposal has deeply disappointed the non-nuclear nations that have signed on to the new nuclear weapons ban treaty.

When this year's Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for contributing to the establishment of the nuclear weapons ban treaty, Japan's Foreign Ministry did not issue a statement until two days later.

Citing "a difference of approach" between ICAN and the Japanese government, the ministry did not even mention the treaty.

Let us reconfirm the significance of this treaty once again.

It condemns nuclear weapons as an "absolute evil" and spells out that they must never be used, thereby establishing this rule as international law.

Humanity realized the utter inhumanity of nuclear weapons when the United States dropped them on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 72 years ago.

But after World War II, the United States, the former Soviet Union and other major world powers rushed into a nuclear arms race, preaching the nuclear deterrence theory--that being armed with nuclear weapons will discourage attacks from other countries.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the creation of which is owed to the persistence of ICAN and Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors, among others, focuses on the fundamental inhumanity of nuclear weapons and rejects the nuclear deterrence theory.

There is no question that this treaty represents the first solid step toward the realization of a "world without nuclear weapons."

So then, why on earth is the world's only victim of nuclear attacks snubbing this treaty?

In August, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared in no uncertain terms that Japan would not sign it. Foreign Minister Taro Kono explained that if nuclear weapons are banned before North Korea and China give up theirs, problems will arise with nuclear deterrence.

As is obvious from Kono's statement, Japan's reliance on the U.S. nuclear umbrella for national security is the greatest hurdle to the acceptance of the nuclear weapons ban treaty.

There is even the argument that the importance of the U.S. nuclear umbrella has grown with North Korea's repeated nuclear tests and missile launches. And U.S. President Donald Trump continues to reiterate his intention of beefing up America's nuclear capabilities, which is escalating tensions.

But the vicious cycle of "nuke for nuke" is only raising the danger of accidental use of nuclear weapons. Even if it is difficult for Japan to immediately leave the nuclear umbrella, surely it is Japan's responsibility as the only nuclear victim to seriously seek a path to joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Since September, 53 additional nations have signed the treaty. But these do not include a single nuclear power, nor any country that is under the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

Should Japan signal its intention to join the treaty, the impact would be colossal.

As a self-appointed "bridge" between nuclear powers and non-nuclear powers, Japan is totally wrong to turn its back on this treaty, which is supported by a majority of the international community.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 25