Towards the 60th year of the tragedy,
let us build up momentum to make the world nuclear-free and war-free
As seen in the recent attack on Iraq, the Bush Administration's notion of "preemption" is posing a new threat to the world. Yet, we have also witnessed that its pursuit of hegemony is facing an unprecedented scale of resistance. Millions of people took to the streets in major cities around the world; 70%, 80% or more people opposed the use of force and demanded a peaceful solution of the problem; and they showed it through actions, though their various ways of expressing their will, depending on their circumstances. When the rule of the UN Charter on the solution of international conflicts by peaceful means was being violated, people rose in action to defend it.
We hope that the 2003 World Conference will be successful in spurring the global movement for a nuclear weapons-free and war-free world, by joining forces with the vast movement demanding respect for the rule of world peace.
Now I want to discuss lessons to be drawn from the struggle against the attack on Iraq.
In the wake of the US/UK attack on Iraq, the mainstream media repeatedly commented that in the face of overwhelming US military power, the UN turned out to be helpless, that the peace movement was frustrated. True, the military power of the US and UK forces was overwhelming. The US, with military expenditure matching that of all the other countries combined, attacked Iraq, which had been weakened by 12 years of sanctions. So, the result was obvious even before the attack actually started. But was the role played by the UN and the peace movement really meaningless? As an answer to this question, we need to emphasize that the attack was conducted as a result of the isolation from the international community of those who stood for war.
In fact, the discussions at the UN made it clearer and clearer that a solution to the problem through inspection was possible, and that there were no grounds for military action. President Bush uses the word, "coalition". But what kind of "coalition"? Their plan to attack Iraq was not approved by the Security Council, nor was it supported even by one fifth of the UN members. They were denounced by the world opinion, and even by the people of their own countries. The centrality of the UN and the peaceful solution of international conflicts represent the major current in the development of history. Herein lies the first lesson we should draw.
Second, combined with the strategy of "preemption", the US nuclear policy of lowering the threshold between nuclear and conventional weapons is posing a real danger that nuclear weapons will actually be used. Yet this policy, too, is prompting the isolation of the Bush Administration. In the 2nd Prep. Com. for the 2005 the NPT Review Conference, held in Geneva in April and May, representatives from both Non-Aligned Governments and the New Agenda Coalition opposed moves to develop so-called "usable nuclear weapons", and many called for the time-framed abolition of nuclear weapons. Criticism also came from US allies. Canada's representative told us that it had warned against the policy of the US Administration to repeal its security assurance to non-nuclear parties. The US/UK governments also disappointed those who sincerely endeavored to demolish Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Hans Blix reminded the UN Security Council members on June 5 that the inspection effort was supported by majority public opinion. After all, most people desire the abolition of all weapons of mass destruction.
Third, in spite of the worldwide opposition to the war on Iraq, the Japanese Government continued to supporting the US policy. One hour after the attack was launched, Prime Minister Koizumi declared that Japan supported the war, "because the US government regards an attack on Japan as an attack on the US." So, to be subservient to the US leaders, he admitted that he did not care about international justice nor even the Constitutional provision banning war. And when public support for his policy dropped sharply, he turned to a new "threat", suggested by US leaders.
So the Japanese Government railroaded the so-called contingency bills designed to plunge Japanese society into a US initiated war, and then another more belligerent bill to send Japanese forces (SDF) to Iraq, again violating the Constitution. Nevertheless, public support for the latter has quickly and sharply dropped. The result of every poll shows that the majority of Japanese do not want the SDF to be sent to Iraq. The lies cannot be sustained forever. Japan should play a positive role for the abolition of nuclear weapons and peace in Asia, abiding by the Constitution and the "Three Non-Nuclear Principles".
As to North Korea's nuclear development, we strongly oppose the development of nuclear weapons by any country whatsoever. The development of nuclear weapons by North Korea threatens its own security, as well as that of North East Asia and the rest of the world. At the same time, the US leaders should understand that the strategy of preemptive attack, including nuclear, is the very factor that is generating pressure for other countries to develop their own nuclear weapons. We call for a peaceful solution of the problem from all the parties concerned.
A message of Colin Powel to the 2nd Prep. Com. warned that the proliferation of nuclear weapons was a real danger and that the parties "must take strong action". Tue, a strong action is needed. But the action required is not to blackmail others with nuclear weapons. what is required is to ban all nuclear weapons. In reading out the message, John Wolf, the assistant Secretary of State, said, "we congratulate and we affirm the over 180 nations which live by their Treaty commitments". If this is the case, and certainly it is, now is the time for the US to move quickly to the total abolition of nuclear weapons, at this very moment when the overwhelming majority Governments are abiding by their treaty obligation to not possess nuclear weapons.
Through actions against the war on Iraq, a strong conviction has developed among the people that each action of each citizen could affect the course of history. Based on this conviction, we should increase our action both at the grassroots level and in international politics. To promote this I want to make one concrete suggestion. Let's launch a new signature campaign aimed to develop public opinion in favor of a total ban, looking to the 60th year of the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 2005.
Just 34 million signatures collected in protest against the Bikini test in 1954 led to the birth of the World Conference against A and H Bombs, and just as 60 million signatures in support of the Appeal from Hiroshima and Nagasaki helped to build worldwide opinion in favor of the total elimination of nuclear weapons, the new signature campaign should be a world-wide effort that will promise us and younger generations a peaceful world with no nuclear weapons and no war.
(You can find the proposed text attached to this speech text. I hope that we can launch this campaign as an outcome of this meeting, with your signatures appended.)