International Meeting
2000 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Hiroshi TAKA
General Secretary
Japan Council against A and H Bombs

Action and Cooperation Worldwide to Urge the Implementation
of the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

Dear friends,

With the turn of the 21st century shortly ahead of us, the movement for the abolition of nuclear weapons is gathering momentum worldwide. Let us call on people all around the world to work together to ensure that the human race in the 21st century is free of the nightmare of nuclear catastrophe, and that all their abilities and resources are used for their own welfare.

Now, 55 years after the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, new, favorable conditions for the elimination of nuclear weapons are emerging before us.

In December last year, the UN General Assembly adopted a number of resolutions calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons by overwhelming majority support. The resolution moved by the New Agenda Coalition, which demanded an unequivocal undertaking to achieve the elimination of nuclear arsenals, was opposed by no more than 13 Governments, throwing into relief the isolation of those who clung to the nuclear monopoly prerogative.

Further, at the NPT Review Conference in April and May this year, the nuclear weapons states finally had to accept a phrase confirming the "unequivocal undertaking to achieve the elimination of their nuclear arsenals" to be included in the final document. That the demand for the total abolition prevails even in the NPT regime, which was initially designed to guarantee the nuclear monopoly of the declared nuclear weapons states, demonstrates that the concept of "security" based on the nuclear arsenals owned by a limited number of super powers is no longer accepted morally, politically or on any other ground.

Recent developments in Asia also show that the abolition of nuclear weapons and the resolution of conflict by peaceful means represent a major direction of the time. The whole process of the summit talks between North and South Korea shattered the fiction that nuclear blackmail or constant military threat by the US-led military alliance ensured peace and security in Asia. The ASEAN Regional Forum further reinforced this. It manifested that the breaking free from and the abolition of nuclear weapons are the common will of the overwhelming majority of the Asian nations. If the Japanese movement defeats the present pro-nuclear politics based on the concept of security being provided by the "US nuclear umbrella" the development towards a nuclear weapons free Asia and the Pacific will be drastically accelerated.

A major factor that caused the isolation of nuclear super powers, the US in the first place, is apparently the arrogance of their own world domination strategy. In the early 1990s, following the break-up of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, many former leaders in military and political fields who had played key roles in the "Cold War" strategies appealed that now was time to abolish all nuclear weapons. However, like the US leaders who gave no heed to the advice of leading scientists in the post WWII period, thus choosing the road of nuclear arms race and precipitating the human-race on the verge of annihilation, the then US leaders chose to prevail in the world as the only surviving nuclear super-power, boasting that the "Cold war was not ended but was won"(President Bush). Claiming that there is no deterrence that can replace nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future, the Clinton Administration is both consolidating the military intervention posture, including the adoption of NATO's new strategic concept and the new Guidelines of Japan-US Defense Cooperation, and developing nuclear weapons systems based on the first use strategy. Some examples are: the refusal to renounce the first use of nuclear weapons, refusal to pledge that it will not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon powers, and the development of NMD and TMD. The hegemonist strategy is dangerous in itself, but on top of that it is actually triggering an escalation in the first use strategy between the USA and Russia, as well as the proliferation of nuclear weapons as seen in India and Pakistan. At the same time, this very fact cannot but set spurs to the world opinion opposing every manifestation of the US hegemonist strategy. We have to grasp this chance to develop the widest possible action and cooperation for the elimination of nuclear weapons, in solidarity with other movements that oppose different manifestations of the hegemonist strategy.

In order for these favorable conditions to bear fruit, I want to propose one common action for the anti-nuclear peace movements, i.e., to urge the UN and its member states to declare that the abolition of nuclear weapons be among the most important priority tasks to be accomplished at the earliest stage of the 21st century. The declaration of the International meeting of the 1999 World Conference proposed an international joint action focusing on the two sessions of the UNGA in 1999 and in 2000 to press for the elimination of nuclear weapons. Developing this call, let us call on all Governments, including the declared nuclear weapons states that have now an obligation to implement their promise to eliminate their nuclear arsenals, to vote for all resolutions calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons in the session of this coming UN Millennium Assembly, and to engage in negotiations to reach this goal.

We must also demand the following as a minimum duty: 1) the nuclear weapons states concerned should renounce the first strike strategy, 2) they should pledge no use of nuclear weapons against any non nuclear weapon state, 3) they should put an end to NMD, TMD and any other plan of nuclear weapons/strategy build-up, 4) and they should put an end to sub-critical and any other form of nuclear test. Let us call on all Governments, both national and local, to demand the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from foreign territories and the high seas, and to refuse entry of any warship or aircraft that does not submit a certificate that it does not carry nuclear weapons.

Now that most Governments are endeavoring for the elimination of nuclear weapons, the Japanese Government is facing the bankruptcy of its own nuclear policy in that the "abolition being ultimate goal" argument, which the Japanese Government heralded in subservience to the US, can no longer work. Furthermore, the mechanism of allowing the US to bring nuclear weapons into Japanese territory through secret agreements over the past 40 years is fully revealed, and the heartless treatment of the Hibakusha faces mounting criticism as seen in the result of the Matsuya law suit.

Criticism against the pro-nuclear politics of the Japanese Government is gathering momentum among a wide range of people. The number of signatures collected in support of the "Appeal from Hiroshima and Nagasaki" for a total ban and the elimination of nuclear weapons, which Japan Gensuikyo and 11 other organizations overseas launched together in February 1985 will soon reach 60 million. And the umber of municipalities that have adopted the nuclear-free declaration is now 2,497, which represents some 76 percent of all Japanese municipalities.

Let us accelerate this development and bring it to fruition. From pro-nuclear to non-nuclear, let us press for a decisive turn in Japanese politics through the broadest possible nation-wide actions in autumn this year.

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