International Meeting

2002 World Conference against A and H Bombs

Yasuo Ogata

Member, Committee of Chairpersons

Organizing Committee of World Conference against A and H Bombs

Director of Japanese Communist Party International Bureau

House of Councilors Member

The dominant characteristic of the situation surrounding nuclear weapons since the 2001 World Conference against A and H Bombs is that the U.S. Bush administration has embarked on a dangerous undertaking which right might be described as "hegemonic overdrive". Having followed the path of unilateralism and overwhelming nuclear superiority, the Bush administration is now pressing ahead with the retaliatory war in Afghanistan under the pretext of the international terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It even includes the actual use of nuclear weapons among its options. The world is faced with a serious challenge: there are now lower hurdles for using arms and waging war, and even for using nuclear weapons.

At the NPT Review Conference in May 2000, 187 countries, including the U.S. government, agreed to delete the word "ultimate" from the phrase describing the goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons. They reached an agreement on an "unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals." But in light of the war in Afghanistan, the Bush administration in the Nuclear Posture Review made in January this year, is recommending the "usable" nuclear weapons, including tactical mini-nukes which could destroy caves deep in the ground and underground facilities. This is an attempt to classify nuclear weapons, which are atrocious and inhuman weapons, into the same category as conventional weapons. This is against the many UN resolutions, including its first, which call for the elimination of atomic bombs.

Moreover, the Bush administration is pursuing an extremely dangerous strategy of mapping out a plan for using nuclear weapons against 7 countries, including non-nuclear weapon states. This tramples even on the international pledge repeatedly made by the successive U.S. governments since 1978 that it would not unilaterally attack non-nuclear weapon states. The Bush administration labels certain countries as constituting an "axis of evil" and is attempting to attack Iraq preemptively, saying it would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons in that event.

The task of the 2002 World Conference being held in this situation is very clear. The anti-nuclear weapon and peace-loving forces throughout the world must stop the U.S. preemptive strikes, and its attempt to use nuclear weapons. This is the task of the conference. Furthermore, holding in check such adverse currents, we must strengthen international cooperation in carrying out the international pledge for the earliest possible abolition of nuclear weapons.

No use of arms and a ban on war, the international principles stipulated in the UN Charter, have been established through struggles for peace and social progress by people throughout the world, and should not be given up lightly. The U.S.fs outrageous unilateralism runs counter to these basic principles and therefore many countries, including even U.S. allies, as well as regional bodies, are voicing opposition. Examples are the joint declarations adopted respectively by the European Union and the summit meeting of the Latin American countries against the unilateralism that places America in a special privileged position.

The gNew Agenda Coalitionh, ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and the Non-Aligned Movement have made a great contribution to the establishment of the international pledge to eliminate nuclear weapons. Even in the face of the adverse current being caused by the U.S., they have successfully isolated the forces clinging to nuclear weapons. With their clear-cut policies, they have encouraged the struggles against nuclear weapons and for peace. The World Conference against A and H Bombs, with its long history and tradition, being held in this country with the A-bomb victim cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has been a leading player in this regard. It is now required to assume a new role under the current deepening critical situation.

Cooperation between the World Conference against A and H Bombs and the gNew Agenda Coalitionh, ASEAN and Non-Aligned Movement has increased in importance and urgency. In this 2002 Conference, high-level representatives of the foreign governments will participate, as they did in the last World Conference. In order to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons, cooperation among NGOs, who best represent the movements of peoples throughout the world, among governments and among all forces wishing for a nuclear-free world is vital. In this regard, the role of this conference is really important.

It has been decided that the 13th Non-Aligned Summit Conference will be held in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, in February next year. The preparatory ministerial meeting held in Durban, South Africa, issued a joint communique, calling attention to the urgency of the total elimination of nuclear weapons, describing unilateralism and the declaration to use nuclear weapons as the root cause of the threat to todayfs world. We are convinced that it is important to strengthen solidarity with the Non-Aligned Movement, which is politically in close consonance with the theme of this conference, and to promote cooperation with it in order to advance the task of the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Under these circumstances, the Japanese governmentfs position of unconditionally following the U.S. nuclear policies, in defiance of the world trend, is conspicuous. In the Diet, Prime Minister Koizumi openly approved of the Bush administrationfs preemptive strike policy and the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states as gone of the U.S.fs alternativesh. Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda referred to the possible review of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, namely, not to possess, make or allow the entry into Japan of nuclear weapons. He maintained that gthe principle can be altered if the international situation or public opinions change in favor of the possession of nuclear weaponsh. Such a shift would represent the worst possible counter-current to the elimination of the nuclear weapons. In addition, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi articulated an astounding attempt to shift back to the theory of gultimate eliminationh, when she said, git is not realistic to treat nuclear weapons separately from other weapons. It would rather disturb the balance of deterrenceh.

All this increases the responsibility of the Japanese people who wish for a peaceful, nuclear-free Japan. Japan, an A-bomb victim nation with the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, renounced war in the form of the peace Constitution. It is therefore expected more than any other nation to stand at the forefront of the movement to prevent the Bush administrationfs attempt to use nuclear weapons again in the 21st century and to achieve the immediate elimination of nuclear weapons

The JCP will make every effort, together with you, to advance this movement and expand international solidarity and cooperation, with the aim of establishing an international order for peace based on the UN Charter, and for peace and social progress. With this promise, I would like to conclude my speech. Thank you.