International Meeting

2002 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Kazuyoshi Saito

Advisor (Attorney at Law) 

International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)

1 Fifty-seven years have passed since atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The 20th century saw two major wars that wreaked havoc for humankind.  Then at the end of the Second World War came the tragedy of the atomic bombs.

It should be natural for humankind, having seen the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to resolve to get rid of these fiendish weapons.  We must continue to tell the story of this tragic experience to future generations.

It is for this reason that all conscientious and peace-loving people shared the earnest call for nuclear weapons to be eliminated before the end of the 20th century at the latest.

Unfortunately, we entered the new century without having realized this long-cherished desire and this is now the second year of the 21st century.

This great international aspiration bore fruit in May 2000, when the NPT Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty reached agreement on an "unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of the nuclear arsenals."

2 However, recent moves by the U.S. Bush administration run counter to international opinion.

Following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United Sates, the U.S. government launched a war in Afghanistan using the need to combat terrorism as a pretext.  This war has involved air strikes that have killed many innocent Afghan residents. In the course of the war, the U.S. dropped such inhumane weapons as cluster bombs, and has even stated that it will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons.

Furthermore, we, who seek the elimination of nuclear weapons, must not overlook the fact that the Bush administration has declared its intention of using nuclear weapons in its "Nuclear Posture Review" report to the U.S. Congress.

The Nuclear Posture Review goes against the international call for the elimination of nuclear weapons.  It reneges on the promise made in the Final Report of the NPT Review Conference.  It is an outrage which we find very difficult to forgive.

We should also take note of the craven submission to the United States by the Koizumi government of Japan, the only country to have been attacked with nuclear weapons.

Japan adopted the present Constitution, which renounces war and military forces, as an expression of its remorse for its past acts of aggression during World War II.  But the Japanese government has submitted to parliament a set of bills for contingency legislation that would not only assist U.S. wars but restrict Japanese citizens' basic rights and undermine local autonomy. What is more, the chief cabinet secretary made remarks that endorsed the notion that Japan can acquire nuclear weapons. Those remarks completely disregard national policy embodied in the Three Non-nuclear principles: not to possess, manufacture or allow nuclear weapons to be brought into Japan.  I believe these moves have emerged against the backdrop of the Japanese defense policy of sheltering under the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

3 What is the meaning of these recent moves centered around U.S. President George W. Bush?

The Bush administration is aiming for U.S.-led economic globalization while trying to unilaterally use its military power to bring the world under its control.

However, these moves can also be seen as an expression of weakness.

Late last year, major U.S. energy wholesaler Enron, which is a major donor for President Bush, went bankrupt. This has been followed by a series of corporate frauds and bankruptcies involving Tyco International, Global Crossing, Qwest Communications, K-Mart, Adelphir Communications, Computer Associates, Rite Aid and CMS Energy.

I suspect that U.S. nuclear weapons and military policy are motivated by the military industry in their pursuit of profit.  But these corporations too may well fail sooner or later.

You may remember U.S. President Dweit Eisenhower's famous warning against the role of the military-industrial complex. The present state of affairs in the United States is precisely about his warning.

The same is true of Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi, an uncritical follower of U.S. President Bush.

Mr. Koizumi is totally faithful to President Bush, and in Japan he is pushing ahead with plans for the Self-Defense Forces to participate in U.S. wars in complete disregard of the constitutional no-war pledge.  In this context, he has imposed the gLaw on Measures to Deal with Situations in Areas Surrounding Japanh, submitted contingency bills to the Diet, and is promoting the "big fish eats the small" policy in the name of "structural reform."  This in turn has put Japan's economy in a state of disarray and deepens the economic recession.

The United States has changed its mind and rejected ratification of the International Criminal Court.  It is now obstructing its operations from the start.  Japan is following the United States on this issue.

The United States is also refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol for the prevention of global warming. This policy of the Bush administration reflects the demands of the military industry and oil corporations.

Science has discovered that the global warming is progressing rapidly, so President Bush's arrogance must be repudiated.

The World Watch Institute's Lester Brown stated that climate changes are likely to cause more storms and melt ice, which will contribute to more heat waves and droughts.  He said that the accumulated concerns about and objections to the current status quo are approaching a threshold and that the vision of the new economy that will resolve the problem is in place.

As Mr. Brown pointed out, the arbitrary U.S. policies are doomed.

4 There is a long-standing conflict over Kashmir between India and Pakistan. As both of these countries now possess nuclear weapons, their military confrontation must, at all costs, be prevented from escalating into a nuclear conflict.

They are both major members of the non-aligned movement which forms a peaceful current in world affairs advocating peaceful conflict resolution, banning of the use of nuclear weapons and their elimination.  We must mobilize public opinion to prevent them from using nuclear weapons and to urge them to get rid of their nuclear arsenals.

5         In this international context, what must we do? 

NGOs are gaining power at the world level, but I think they need to be further revitalized.  They must work together in solidarity and transcend differences in ideology and belief for the elimination of nuclear weapons. 

The Japan Council against A and H Bombs, the driving force of this World Conference, is one of these NGOs.  I find it wonderful that Japan Gensuikyo, since its founding in 1955, has been constantly working for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

I believe that Japan Gensuikyo has contributed to preventing nuclear weapons from being used again since WWII. 

Many anti-nuclear NGOs have been formed around the world and carried on creative activities. 

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), which I have the honor to represent at this conference, is one of the NGOs registered at the UN Economic and Social Council.      

As I explained at the previous World Conferences, the IADL was born in Paris in 1946 with the aim of realizing peace and democracy and defending human rights.  It has always given its humble support to and cooperated with the movement for the abolition of nuclear weapons promoted by Japan Gensuikyo.

The 3rd Asia Pacific Lawyers Conference was held in Hanoi in November last year.  I attach the gAppeal for Peace and Development from Hanoih for your reference.  I would like to make some comments on this appeal.

First, Mr. Jamal Sourani, former Palestinian Justice Minister, took part in the Meeting of Solidarity with Palestine, which was held at the same time as the Hanoi conference.  He once participated in the World Conference. 

The PLO is now in serious difficulty in the face of Israeli military attack supported by the U.S.  I hope Palestine and Israel will choose peaceful coexistence as independent countries.  As Israel is said to possess nuclear weapons, the conflict with Palestine threatens peace in the Middle East and could escalate into a fully-fledged war.  We must therefore intensify our criticism of Israel.

Second, representatives from both South and North Korea participated in the Hanoi conference. 

In 1994, the U.S., attempted to intervene in the Korean Peninsula using nuclear weapons. It asked Japan to cooperate by handing over a 1,059 item-demand to Tokyo.  Japan refused and former US President, Jimmy Carter, visited Korea.  A crisis was thus avoided.

Later, in June 2000, ROK President Kim Dae Jung visited Pyongyang for a historic reconciliation between North and South.  This opened the possibility of an independent and peaceful reunification of the two countries. 

However, the future is difficult to predict since there has recently been an exchange of fire between North and South Korean ships near the Korean west coast.

We hope that North and South Korea will move forward towards reconciliation along the lines of their joint declaration.  And we hope to bring about the long discussed northeast nuclear-free zone, including these two countries, Japan and China.