Nuclear talks in Hiroshima have called for a treaty to stop the production of radioactive fuel for bombs, and acceptance ''without delay'' of a global ban on testing atomic weapons.
But the 12-nation meeting of foreign ministers, including Australia's Julie Bishop, stopped short of calling for a ban on nuclear arms.
Disarmament activists are bitterly disappointed the Hiroshima talks - where a survivor from the atomic bombing nearly 70 years ago told her story - did not end with a call for the ban. Akira Kawasaki from the Japanese Peace Boat group said the statement issued by the ministers was ''very weak''.
Keiko Ogura, eight years old when the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, described the awful smell of burnt hair and seeing people die.
The joint declaration, dubbed the Hiroshima statement, said her testimony was a ''reminder to us all why a nuclear war should never be fought''.
The group condemned North Korea for its nuclear program and discussed the Ukraine crisis intensely. There was speculation disarmament might be a casualty of the takeover in Crimea, given that Moscow might not have acted had Ukraine not surrendered its nuclear arsenal in 1992.
The meeting pledged again a ''goal of a world free of nuclear weapons''. Having opposed what Ms Bishop described as an emotional appeal for a ban, Australia will be pleased it called for a ''pragmatic and step-by-step approach'' aimed at their elimination.
None of the 12 countries - which include Turkey, Poland, Nigeria, Canada, Germany, Chile, Mexico, Philippines and the United Arab Emirates - possess atomic weapons.
The group's aim is to pressure nuclear armed nations to surrender their bombs.
The story Call for weapons ban a step too far for nuclear talks first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.