International Meeting
2000 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Address of the Organizer

Ayako Sekiya
Committee of Chairpersons
Organizing Committee, World Conference against A & H Bombs

Dear friends coming all the way from overseas to the 2000 World Conference against A & H Bombs,
Dear friends from all over Japan,

First of all, on behalf of the Organizing Committee, I want to extend my warmest greetings of welcome and solidarity to you. Please let me say a few words about what we want to invite you to discuss in this year's World Conference.

As we are about to enter the 21st century, we are impressed by the surge in the movement calling for a "World free of nuclear weapons". Looking back only these 5 years, we can feel confident about these changes.

In 1995, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was extended indefinitely, establishing the system of permanent monopoly of nuclear weapons by the 5 nuclear powers. In the World Conference held that year, I expressed my determination, saying, "Let us not forget that even in stormy days, the sun is always shining above the dark clouds, and believe in the day when the clouds over us will all disappear. Let us not lose hope, but instead strengthen our faith in each other and do our best to keep up our effort."

After five years since then, we are still seeing the dark clouds over us, and we cannot let our guard down. We have witnessed the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan. The United States, being considered to be the largest nuclear weapon State, seems to be even trying to make these dark clouds more aggressive and dangerous. However, friends, the voices calling to remove these clouds are steadily growing, making holes in them here and there. This was clearly evidenced in the NPT Review Conference held this year. The nuclear weapons states adamantly refused to accept the proposal for starting negotiations for the abolition of nuclear weapons within a set time-frame. But their claim for an "ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons" was rejected by other State parties, and they were forced to agree on an "unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals."

With the development of the world movement and public support for the abolition of nuclear weapons as background, to which the consistent effort by our World Conference against A & H Bombs has greatly contributed, there is a growing trend critical of the nuclear weapons states consisting of Non-Aligned nations, the New Agenda Coalition countries rallying a broader range of non-nuclear states, and even countries among the allies of the United States.

In this situation, in order to make the nuclear weapons states really carry out the "unequivocal undertaking"for abolition of nuclear weapons, what actions should we take? How should we link our efforts with the abolition trend in international politics, thus strengthening the power to press the nuclear weapons states to act on their promise? We look forward to your active discussion on these points during this year's World Conference.

Friends, in this A-bombed country Japan, the pro-nuclear politics of the successive Governments, which have turned their back the wishes of the people for anti-nuclear peace, is at a serious deadlock. Supporters of such a policy can no longer claim their favorite "ultimate elimination" of nuclear weapons. The mechanism for bringing nuclear weapons into Japan has been revealed by the declassified U.S. official documents. Also, the A-Bomb Lawsuit filed by Hideko Matsuya, a Nagasaki Hibakusha, concluded in great victory at the Supreme Court, and the Japanese Government is now forced to review its administration on the Hibakusha. Despite stubborn resistance of the pro-nuclear forces, we can observe a steady progress in our movement, opening the way for further development.

The theme of this year's World Conference is "Action and Cooperation for a Nuclear-Free 21st Century." I sincerely hope that your active participation and discussion from a variety of angles during the World Conference will set out a clear future direction for our progress, taking advantage of all the emerging changes in the world situation and new possibilities for cooperation on the eve of the 21st century.

Go back to the Menu of the Conference