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Are Japan's and Germany's Nuclear Energy Policies Changing?

Public Panel Discussion on Future of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty to Be Held January 11, 2016, at Freie Universität Berlin

№ 396/2015 from Dec 15, 2015

A panel discussion dealing with Japan's and Germany's nuclear weapons policies will be held on January 11, 2016, at Freie Universität Berlin. The panelists will discuss the current status of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the possibilities and limitations of the so-called Humanitarian Initiative based on the examples of Germany and Japan. The Humanitarian Initiative is a group of states that subscribe to the initiative’s joint statement against nuclear weapons. The aim of the initiative is to revitalize the NPT. The panelists will include Dr. Oliver Meier from the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Prof. Dr. Richard Samuels from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) and Einstein Visiting Fellow at the Graduate School of East Asian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, and Dr. Suzuki Tatsujiro from the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition at Nagasaki University. The discussion will be conducted in English. It is being organized by the Graduate School of East Asian Studies. It is public, and admission is free.

Germany and Japan are regarded as opponents of nuclear armament and were among the first signatories of the NPT. However, the two countries have not yet adopted a clear position with regard to the Humanitarian Initiative, and both continue to rely on the nuclear umbrella of the United States. Against this background the panelists will discuss, among other things, whether the nuclear weapons policies of Germany and Japan will change under the influence of the Humanitarian Initiative, possible reasons for the hesitation of both countries to join the Initiative, and what this indicates about the attitudes of the two countries toward nuclear weapons.

In three international conferences, the supporter states of the Humanitarian Initiative identified humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and determined that in the event of a nuclear detonation no adequate assistance would be possible and that the consequences would affect all the countries. Furthermore, according to the Humanitarian Initiative, in the face of these humanitarian impacts, a new diplomatic process is needed to negotiate a legally binding instrument that would establish an international norm banning nuclear weapons. In addition, nuclear weapons are still not explicitly prohibited, which is why the members of the Humanitarian Initiative have committed themselves to closing this gap in cooperation with all the relevant stakeholders.

Further Information

Time and Location

  • Monday, January 11, 2016, from 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Department of Law, Freie Universität Berlin, Van’t-Hoff-Str. 8, Lecture Hall / Hörsaal II, 14195 Berlin. Subway station: Thielplatz (U3).


Stefanie Schäfer, Graduate School of East Asian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-60423, Email: stefanie.schaefer@fu-berlin.de