Japan has acknowledged the harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA) and committed to action on the matter.
Japan condemned the use of EWIPA during the February 2014 UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. In the statement, Japan called for the Security Council to address the use of EWIPA by seriously considering the voices of those in the field where civilians are faced with the threat of explosive weapons use. Japan delivered a similar statement during the June 2012 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, expressing its concern at the grave humanitarian impact of the use of EWIPA.
At the UN Security Council Open Debate War in Cities: Protection of Civilians in Urban Settings on 25 January 2022, the Group of Friends of the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, of which Japan is a member, called on states to enhance the protection of civilians, including from the use of EWIPA, and took note of the ongoing consultations to develop a political declaration on this subject.
Japan has been an active participant in the consultations toward a political declaration on the use of EWIPA. During the consultation in 2020, Japan expressed its concern with the indiscriminate use of explosive weapons in densely populated area. It said the reverberating effects of use of EWIPA are detrimental from a humanitarian perspective. Japan argued that there is no need for new regulation on EWIPA but rather a need for full implementation of existing international humanitarian law (IHL). Building from this, Japan emphasised the importance of focusing on ensuring the compliance of non-state actors with IHL.
Japan also participated in the consultations in 2021. Japan stressed its commitment to initiatives that seek to improve IHL compliance through diplomacy and argued that IHL already provides a robust legal basis for the protection of civilians during armed conflict. Japan stressed the importance of ensuring that non-state armed groups comply with international law, including IHL. Japan also argued that explosive weapons can be used in full compliance with international and national laws and regulations, and that care must be taken to avoid stigmatising explosive weapons, so long as they are used in compliance with international norms.
 UN Security Council (2014). ‘February 2014 UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Meeting Transcript’. https://undocs.org/en/S/PV.7109.
 UN Security Council (2012). ‘June 2012 UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Meeting Transcript’. https://undocs.org/en/S/PV.6790.
 Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will (2022). ‘UN Security Council Debates War in Cities and the Protection of Civilians’. https://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/news/latest-news/16009-un-security-council-debates-war-in-cities-and-the-protection-of-civilians.
 Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will (2020). ‘Impacts, not Intentionality: The Imperative of Focusing on the Effects of Explosive Weapons in a Political Declaration’. https://reachingcriticalwill.org/news/latest-news/14658-impacts-not-intentionality-the-imperative-of-focusing-on-the-effects-of-explosive-weapons-in-a-political-declaration.
 Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will (2021). ‘Report on the March 2021 Consultations on a Political Declaration on the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas’. https://reachingcriticalwill.org/news/latest-news/15213-report-on-the-march-2021-consultations-on-a-political-declaration-on-the-use-of-explosive-weapons-in-populated-areas.