International Meeting

2002 World Conference against A and H Bombs

Hiroshi TAKA

Japan Council against A and H Bombs

Building pressure for the elimination of nuclear weapons as an absolute guarantee against the use of nuclear weapons

Dear friends,

Let me first of all express my sincere appreciation to the delegates, particularly from overseas, who in spite of all your busy work and struggles, came here to join us in the 2002 World Conference.  In the turbulent developments of the past year, anti-nuclear peace movements have increased their activities in their respective countries, and many have achieved outstanding success. I hope that this International Meeting will serve as a place where we can learn from each otherfs opinions and experiences, and that we will make the conference successful.

The September 11 terrorist attacks and the following war of retaliation that followed had an enormous impact on the subsequent international developments regarding nuclear weapons issues.

In a letter to the peace movement of the United States expressing our sympathy for the bereaved families of the victims, we of the Japan Council against A & H Bombs denounced the terrorism as follows: gthe indiscriminate violence and the killings, which nothing can justify for any reason whatsoeverh.  In the same letter, we expressed our full support and solidarity with the peace movement in the USA in its demand for a thorough investigation and resolution of the problem based on the principles of law and reason, as opposed to a hasty, revengeful military actionh.

In fact, if President Bush could only keep his composure, pursue a thorough investigation and commit to resolve the issue based on law and reason, it could provide the international community with an opportunity to open up a new direction in international politics for the promotion of peace and security.

The direction that President Bush chose to take was the exact opposite of this.  The implication is that the US was free to choose any action it pleased, unrestricted by law or international agreements, if its action was to counter gterrorismh or gproliferation.h This changes the modern world from a world governed by law into one dominated by the logic of the grogue.h Now the U.S. plans to expand the Afghan war into a major attack on Iraq, aimed at toppling the Government of that country. It even claims that the terrorists have cells in more than 60 countries, and that, for them, pre-emptive strike is the only answer (Speech at the West Point on June 1).

President Bush is making the maximum use of the problem of terrorism to remove from the agenda the gunequivocal undertakingh to accomplish gcomplete elimination of nuclear weaponsh, agreed on at the NPT Review Conference in May 2000. HE wants to overturn the global trend towards the elimination of nuclear weapons, such as the ban on nuclear weapons tests or the first use of nuclear weapons.  The major aim of the gNuclear Posture Reviewh submitted to the Congress in January this year, also, is to change the ostensible purpose of the nuclear arsenal – ie deterrence, to threaten and contain adversaries - to enable the US to use them whenever it feels necessary.

Dear friends,

Whether or not this anachronistic scheme to build a gWorld Empireh based on nuclear supremacy has any real chance of reversing the global development for peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons is quite another matter.

In spite of the intense campaign of gwhether you support us or the terroristsh, a resolution calling for the start of negotiations in 2002 towards the elimination of nuclear weapons was adopted by the US general Assembly with the support of 111 countries compared to 29 against. Despite the call for a boycott, the conference on the CTBT met in New York to adopt a document that called for the early entry into force of the CTBT.

As with the issue of nuclear disarmament, the Bush Administration also found itself isolated from the international community on the issue of gTerrorism and Proliferationh.  It was the only Government that worked to prevent the protocol to the biological weapons treaty from coming into effect in December last year – this at a time when its own citizens in the United States were suffering from arthrax bio-terrorism.  Then came the withdrawal the support for the International Criminal Court, which would try international crimes, such as terrorist attacks.  All these actions lead us to the conclusion that, even in terms of the international effort to root out terrorism, the biggest obstacle lies in the pursuit of the Bush Administration for global dominance.

Even to prevent the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, it is not convincing to say that the proliferation of such weapons to other countries is dangerous, or that proliferation should be prevented even by the force of pre-emptive strike or of nuclear weapons, while at the same time obstructing a total ban on these weapons everywhere in international politics.  The self-centered unilateralism of the nuclear super-power deforms the international structure based on the UN Charter. Its nuclear policy is eliciting vigilance and criticism from the peoples of the world, including from the overwhelming majority of Governments.

The final document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference, to which the US Government agreed, says: gtotal elimination of nuclear weapons is the only absolute guarantee against the use of nuclear weaponsh.  With the heightening danger of nuclear weapons being actually used, it is urgent to accelerate the drive to reach this goal.  We need to redouble our efforts to build grassroots voices against the use of military force, and particularly we must oppose the nation that nuclear weapons can be used as means of countering gterrorism and proliferationh.  At the same time, I want to suggest that we continue to press the UN and its member states to build wider and ever stronger support for agreement on a total ban on nuclear weapons, and to then set about implementing the ban.

Before concluding my report, I want to emphasize the importance of making known to the world what Hiroshima and Nagasaki means to the human race, at this juncture when the danger of the actual use of nuclear weapons is real.  The Hibakusha, the A-bomb survivors, by sharing stories of their own difficult struggle for their own survival and for the surviant of the whole human race, and by appealing that gHiroshima or Nagasaki should not be repeated anywhere on earth,h have continued to contribute to building up public opinion for the prevention of nuclear war and the elimination of nuclear weapons.  We need to increase our support for the Hibakusha, who are no longer young, and make their struggle our own as a common work in pursuit of a world free of nuclear weapons.   Thank you