2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs

International Meeting
2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Asai Motofumi
Professor at Meiji Gakuin University
Japan


Introductory Report, Session I:
Prospect for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

I would like to focus my discussion on the three points.

First is the need for clear recognition of the nature of the U.S. war against Iraq and the subsequent occupation of the country. The war and the occupation, a demonstration of the Bush Administrationfs pre-emptive strike policy, has no legitimacy in any way and is an international crime. Second, the administration has no intention of backing off its offensive nuclear strategy, which is an integral part of its preemptive strike strategy, despite the frustration to its policy on Iraq. Third is the complete subservience of Japanese conservative forces to the Bush Administration. They have entered the dangerous phase of laying the foundation for grevisingh Japanfs Constitution to strengthen the military alliance with the United States.

I hope that we in the World Conference against A & H Bombs will develop a clearer understanding on the three issues to play an effective role in raising public awareness in Japan and internationally so that the international society at large can work together to establish an order of peace and stability.

1. The U.S. should be charged with an international crime for its war and occupation of Iraq.
The pre-emptive strike policy came into the open with the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review (Sep. 30), 2001 Nuclear Posture Review (Dec. 31), which I will discuss later, and the State of the Union Address of January 29, 2002. Of the three, Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which was released soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks shows the raving anger of the Bush Administration against the perpetrators of the attack. Let us recall that the QDR opens with the following statement.

gOn September 11, 2001, the United States came under vicious, bloody attack. Americans died in their places of work. They died on American soil. They died not as combatants, but as innocent victims. They died not from traditional armies waging traditional campaigns, but from the brutal, faceless weapons of terror.h gThe war the nation fights today is not a war of Americafs choosing. It is a war that was brought violently and brutally to Americafs shores by the evil forces of terror. It is a war against America and Americafs way of life. It is a war against all that America holds dear. It is war against freedom itself.h (Emphasis added.)

Out of such an erratic reaction against the attack that it recognized as unpredictable, it drew the following conclusion that is immediately connected to the pre-emptive strike strategy. (Note that the credibility of the unpredictability is much questioned in the United States.)
gc(W)e cannot and will not know precisely where and when Americafs interests will be threatened, when America will come under attack(.)ccWe must constantly strive to get better intelligence, but we must also remember that there will always be gaps in our intelligence. Adapting to surprise - adapting quickly and decisively - must therefore be a condition of planning.h

Building on the QDR, 2002 State of the Union Address proclaimed the United Statefs will expand its global pre-emptive war against terrorism and to counter an gaxis of evil.h The Administration then launched pre-emptive war against Iraq on the pretext of the countryfs possession of weapons of mass destruction and links to al-Quida. (Needless to say, such pretexts and rational have been proven completely groundless, and therefore the legitimacy of the pre-emptive war of the Bush Administration has been totally shattered.)

It has been said that Iraq has entered a new phase after its sovereignty was handed over by the occupation forces. But we must recognize clearly that the preemptive war was waged in complete violation of current international laws that totally prohibit wars, and that it constitutes a serious international crime that devastated Iraq and killed more than 10,000 of its citizens.

Unfortunately, todayfs reality of politics will not allow an international tribunal to try George W. Bush, the president of the worldfs only superpower, for his crime as was done on the former president of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic. But this by no means should exonerate President Bush and his administration from their crime. This World Conference against A & H Bombs must lead world public opinion in charging Bush with criminality.

In this context, those who live in Asia need to be keenly aware of the nature and the implication of the pre-emptive strike strategy. The strategy was in the first place developed with the Bush Administrationfs offensive view against Asia and with the naked intention of beefing-up Japan as a US military hub for putting that recognition into practice.

In this context, the QDR states that, gAlong a broad arc of instability that stretches from the Middle East to Northeast Asia, the region contains a volatile mix of rising and declining regional powers.h gMaintaining a stable balance in Asia will be a complex task. The possibility exists that a military competitor with a formidable resource base will emerge in the region. The East Asia littoral - from the Bay of Bengal to the Sea of Japan - represents a particularly challenging area. The distances are vast in the Asian theater. The United States also has less assurance of access to facilities in the region. This places a premium on securing additional access and infrastructure agreementsch (Emphasis added.)

This unnamed gmilitary competitor with a formidable resourceh is China, and in connection with the Taiwan issue, the country is in the forefront of the Bush Administrationfs mind as the greatest potential threat as part of the gAxis of Evil.h And in order to ensure the military capability against the region, the U.S. must secure gadditional access and infrastructure agreements.h This is an implicit way of emphasizing the importance of the U.S.-Japan military alliance. (Bush Administrationfs ongoing global military transformation isolates Japan from other countries that host U.S. forces. Unlike others, U.S. military functions in Japan are being concentrated and enhanced, which is a clear demonstration of its military strategy.) I would like to point out that unless the Administration is stopped from putting its dangerous policy into practice, the region would suffer from increasing military tension. (For that, specifically speaking, world public opinion must be strong enough for the American voters to reject Bush in the coming election. But, with John Kerry as President, the U.S. foreign policy will still not see a drastic change.)

2. Bush Administrationfs offensive nuclear strategy must be stopped
Based on the understanding that g(g)reater flexibility is needed with respect to nuclear forces and planning than was the case during the Cold Warh, the 2002 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) states that g(t)he assets most valued by the spectrum of potential adversaries in the new security environment may be diverse and, in some cases, U.S. understanding of what an adversary values may evolve.h And it clearly articulates the role of nuclear weapons in the pre-emptive strike strategy by stating that gU.S. nuclear forces still require the capability to hold at risk a wide range of target types. This capability is key to the role of nuclear forces in supporting an effective deterrence strategy relative to a broad spectrum of potential opponents under a variety of contingencies. Nuclear attack combination can provide the range of options that vary in scale, scope, and purpose will complement other military capabilities.h

We can point out three aspects of the Bush Administrationfs nuclear policy in its preemptive nuclear attack strategy.

First is the great emphasis on the role ballistic missile defense systems (BMD), intended to forestall nuclear missile counter-attack by an adversary. The NPR states g(m)issile defenses are beginning to emerge as systems that can have an effect on the strategic and operational calculations of potential adversaries. They are now capable of providing, active defense against short-to medium-range threats.h

In this regard, Japan is trying to actively cooperate with the U.S. in the development of such systems. The ostensible reason for this is to prepare for possible missile attacks by North Korea. But it is public knowledge that the Bush Administrationfs actual intention is to possess counter means against Chinafs possible use of nuclear-tipped missiles in case of a contingency over Taiwan.

The second aspect is the Administrationfs strong commitment to the actual use of nuclear weapons as tactical weapons. The NPR states without guise that g(c)omposed of both non-nuclear systems and nuclear weapons, the strike element of the New Triad can provide greater flexibility in the design and conduct of military campaigns to defeat opponents decisively.h Major emphasis is placed on the development of operational mini-nukes to close the gaps between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons and of earth penetrating nuclear weapons to destroy hiding enemies or their facilities deep in the underground.

The development of the nuclear earth penetrators is pursued with the understanding of the failure of attacks using conventional weapons in destroying Al-Qaeda in the war on Afghanistan, and the fact that China and many other countries are relocating their vital military facilities and governmentfs central nerve systems underground.

The third aspect is the plan to resume underground nuclear explosion testing, which is vital for developing tactical nuclear weapons. Though itfs been a while since the U.S. decided to go ahead with sub-critical nuclear testing, the Bush Administration has not withdrawn its intention of breaking with the moratorium observed since 1992 and resuming explosion testing even in violation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

If the U.S. does decide to conduct the explosion testing, the rest of the nuclear weapons states may use that as the excuse to follow suit. The Bush Administrationfs nuclear policy is shamelessly double standard: while taking a hard-line stance against the possible possession of nuclear weapons by North Korea, Iran and other grogue statesh, it completely ignores world-wide criticism against its own nuclear policy.

If we allow such policies to continue unchecked, the world will once again face imminent and present danger of nuclear war. Those of us gathering at this conference cannot afford holding our arms and do nothing before Bushfs nuclear tyranny. Above all, we must thoroughly criticize the three characteristics of Bushfs nuclear policy. Based on such efforts the conference needs to present persuasive and feasible cases for the abolition of nuclear weapons. I think this is another essential task of this conference.

3. Building public opinion in Japan and internationally to halt the attempt of Japanese conservative forces to revise Japanfs Constitution

The international community got tied to the shock of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and made a grave mistake in dealing with the problem. The U.N. resolution which condoned the military response of President Bush, who exclaimed the attack as gwarh, against Afghanistan as the use of force in self-defense, and the declaration of NATO member countries and others to act in collective self-defense with the U.S. legitimized and justified the U.S. international crime.

After these resolutions, the Bush Administration has embraced its case and policy as representing justice and good, and labeled all those who are against the U.S. as evil. It never reflects its military and foreign policies that are designed to fit its self-interests. The gross result of all this has been the pre-emptive war against a sovereign nation, Iraq, in violation of international law and the international crime of killing more than 10,000 people in the country.

Whatever the reasons, condoning a pre-emptive attack against a sovereign nation will clearly undermine the system of international laws developed since the establishment of the U.N. Charter. As might be expected, the international community demonstrated its strong opposition against the war and consequently the U.S. is suffering isolation and stuck in the morass in Iraq. Still, how the international community is going to engage itself in the Iraqi reconstruction process following the fallout of Bushfs international crime is a serious question it must answer.

In this regard, we Japanese need to be keenly aware of our governmentfs sheer blindness in fully supporting the Bush Administration. Despite the fact that a growing number of countries are recognizing the dangerous nature of the administration, the understanding of general public in Japan of its gravity remains very weak. The lack of interest in this question is clearly demonstrated by the fact that while the government decided to take part in violating international law and its own constitution and become an accomplice of the international crime, the rate of public support in Japan for the deployment of the its military to Iraq remains high.

Though explained as the right of collective self defense, Japanfs conservative forces are not yet able to openly support war since it is clearly prohibited by the peace Constitution. So the Japanese forces in Iraq are left in limbo: unable to take part in the battle nor join the multinational forces due to constitutional restraints. They have not yet become full-fledged members of the international force required by the United States.

Faced with these constraints, Japanfs conservative forces now see a constitution bogged by a peace provision that fetters military operations as the subject for grevisionh at the earliest possible date. The constitution that strictly prohibits war is an onerous burden for those willing to develop Japanfs military alliance with the U.S. to the finish and revive Japanfs militarism. In the election campaign for the upper house of the Japanese Diet this July, the pro-war forces for the first time openly pledged the grevisionh of the Constitution. The outcome of the election saw a greater number of seats for the political parties pledging for the revision (Liberal Democratic Party, the Komei Party and Democratic Party) and devastating defeat of the pro-constitutional parties (Japanese Communist Party and Social Democratic Party). Now the pro-revision forces dominate the Diet by an overwhelming majority. In a few years the Japanese people will face a bill for the constitutional grevisionh and have to decide whether they should accept it or reject it.

Whether Japan chooses to remain as it is or transform itself into a war-mongering nation allied with the U.S. is a major question that will bear immediate impact on international peace and security. And it is no one else but the Japanese people, who have to grapple with the challenge. We must exert all our efforts to inform the public of the gravity of this issue as soon as possible.

Asian nations that suffered the Japanese militarism and colonial occupation, and the rest of the international community that experienced the terrible ordeal of World War II set off by Japanese militarism together with other members of the Axis--Nazi Germany and the Fascist Italy, would naturally have great interest in preventing Japan from taking the wrong course. For that, I sincerely hope that international opinion will pay close attention, react to the Japanese political situation, and speak out in solidarity with our struggle. It is my earnest desire that this World Conference will become an important platform to mobilize stronger world opinion for that purpose.

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