Seven Japanese financial institutions loaned about 2 trillion yen ($18.87 billion) together to nuclear weapons manufacturers, according to an investigation by an anti-nuclear weapons group that won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

Akira Kawasaki, a member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons' (ICAN) International Steering Group, announced the results at a news conference in Tokyo on March 7.

ICAN plans to ask the Japanese banks and financial institutions to change their policies for investing in and making loans to nuclear weapons producers.

Between January 2014 and October 2017, ICAN and Netherlands' peace organization PAX jointly studied the financing of 20 companies producing nuclear weapons in the United States, Britain, France and other countries.

According to Kawasaki, 329 financial institutions loaned and invested about 55 trillion yen in total in those manufacturers. Among the 329, seven Japanese financial institutions invested and loaned about 2 trillion yen in total.

ICAN campaigned for passage of the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was enacted last year, to ban the use, development and possession of nuclear arms.

Based on the treaty, Kawasaki said that investing and lending money to nuclear weapons manufacturers is included in the prohibited elements, as it means "support the production of nuclear weapons."

ICAN has sent a questionnaire to the seven Japanese financial institutions asking their views on the result of the investigation.

For detailed results of the investigation, the webpage of the Tokyo-based NGO Peace Boat can be accessed at: (http://peaceboat.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/abolition_dbob2018_Japan.pdf)