History of Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines (JCBL)

About the middle of 1997, when nearly one hundred countries including UK and France were willing to finalize and adopt the new treaty which totally prohibits antipersonnel landmines (Mine Ban Treaty, herein after "the Treaty"), the Japanese Government was reluctant to do so.

Japanese NGOs and individuals who had been acting independently to ban antipersonnel landmines (APM), decided to lump together their efforts in one momentum and they organized a new network NGO, the JCBL, on July 19, 1997. JCBL started immediately to urge the Japanese Government to join the Treaty.

At the Oslo Conference in September 1997, Japan had not yet adopted the final text of the Treaty. It was only after Mr. Keizo Obuchi took the post of the Minister of Foreign Affairs that Japan changed its policy in October and decided to join the Treaty. Japan signed the Treaty together with another 121 countries on December 3, 1997, the first day of Treaty Signing Conference.

However, it had been clear that Japan was still reluctant to ratify the Treaty as soon as possible, with the aim that Japan would be one of the first 40 ratifying countries. The JCBL submitted more than 200,000 signatures on a petition to the then Prime Minister, Mr. Keizo Obuchi, cooperation with Diet Members who requested quick ratification on our behalf during discussions in the related Committees of the Diet.

Thanks to these efforts, the Diet approved the ratification bill on September 30, 1998.