Japan wants partial ban on cluster bombs - media

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TOKYO, Nov 3 (Reuters) Japan will propose a partial ban on cluster bombs as a compromise between countries demanding a total ban and arms producers such as China and Russia that oppose such a move, media reported today.

Delegates from around the world will meet in Geneva this month to review a treaty on the use of cluster bombs, which maim or kill thousands of civilians every year.

Nearly 70 countries have pledged to support a ban, but the United States, Russia and China are not among them.

Japan will propose banning the use of cluster bombs in urban areas and suggest taking measures to reduce dud bombs, Kyodo news agency said, citing sources close to the matter.

Kyodo said Japan had not yet decided when to submit the proposal, but would ask for an early start of negotiations on cluster bombs at a review of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in Geneva from November 7-13.

The United States has said it supports launching negotiations on a global treaty to reduce civilian casualties from cluster bombs, but does not back a ban.

When cluster bombs explode, they scatter numerous bomblets that can lie dormant for years or even decades while retaining the potential to kill.

Many of the bomblets look like brown, grey or yellow cans, often attracting children. Activists say a vast majority of cluster bomb victims are civilians and about a quarter are children.

Delegates from 68 countries met in Peru in May this year to broaden support for a declaration agreed to in Norway in February calling for a ban on cluster bombs by 2008.

REUTERS SKB RN1705

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