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Quarter Of Japanese Population Signs Anti-Nuclear Weapons Petition

May 28, 1988

TOKYO (AP) _ Nearly one-quarter of Japan’s population has signed a petition calling for total nuclear disarmament, the group sponsoring the petition said today.

The signature drive has proven so successful that the United Nations won’t accept the signatures because of a lack of storage space, said Kazuya Yasuda, a spokesman for the Japan Council Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs.

He said that since 1985, more than 28 million people have signed the petition. There are about 120 million people in Japan.

The council had originally hoped to present the signatures to the United Nations in New York, but were politely requested not to, Yasuda said.

″It would take about 600 large cardboard boxes to hold all the signatures, and the U.N. told us it simply doesn’t have the space to store them all,″ he said.

Instead, the group, supported by the Japan Communist Party, plans to select 900,000 of the signatures for presentation to the U.N. by 340 council members who are scheduled to visit New York early next month.

The presentation of the signatures is being scheduled to coincide with the United Nation’s third special session on disarmament. Japanese Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita is due to deliver a speech at the session on June 1.

″The signatures symbolize the anti-nuclear weapons attitude of the Japanese people, but we understand the position of the U.N.,″ Yasuda said.