On the occasion of the 8th Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty:
Time to bring a total ban and the elimination of nuclear weapons onto agenda and start negotiations with no further delay
Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs
It will soon be 65 years since the first atomic bombs in history ruined Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bombs took lives of about 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 70,000 people in Nagasaki by the end of 1945. Some 230,000 surviving victims are still suffering mentally and physically from the aftereffects. As U.S. President Obama pointed out on April 5, 2009 in Prague, one nuclear weapon exploded in one city -- no matter where it happens, there is no end to what the consequences might be.
Out of a lesson learned from the nuclear arms race in the latter half of the 20th century, during which the humanity was brought to the verge of annihilation, the five nuclear weapons states accepted in May 2000 the undertaking to gaccomplish the elimination of their nuclear arsenals.h The 2000 NPT Review Conference included this as an agreement in the Final Document. It is a task of vital importance for the 8th NPT Review Conference in May 2010 to turn this determination agreed upon on the eve of the 21st century to a concrete process for abolishing nuclear weapons, and agree to launch negotiations for a total ban on nuclear weapons.
In April this year, the U.S. and the Russian Federation agreed on limiting their respective strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 and delivery vehicles to 800. Prior to the signing of the agreement, the U.S. set out a new nuclear policy to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in the national security and give assurance of no-use of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear weapons states that are gin compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligationsh. It is of course important to cut in number of nuclear weapons or to reduce their role in military strategy. But these measures alone cannot lead to the total abolition of nuclear weapons. In order to totally eliminate nuclear weapons, the governments must set the elimination of nuclear weapons itself on the agenda, negotiate it, and come to an agreement to ban them.
At the same time, in achieving a nuclear weapon-free world, it is particularly important now to overcome all arguments that try to justify nuclear weapons, invented during the period of the nuclear arms race, such as gnuclear deterrenceh or gnuclear umbrellah doctrines. The myth that nuclear weapons are a deterrent and defending a countryfs security still serves as a major driving force for both nuclear build-up and nuclear proliferation. It is a major obstacle to the abolition of nuclear weapons, and must be thoroughly criticized and defeated in every forum on peace and security.
With the passing of 65 years since the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world has undergone a drastic change. While the number of the states possessing nuclear weapons among all UN member states remains 9, as many as 184 states among the parties to the NPT are placing themselves under the obligation of not acquiring and not developing nuclear weapons as the gnon-nuclear weapons statesh. In the UNGA session last December, India, Pakistan and North Korea, the three non-members to the NPT voted in favor of a resolution calling for a start of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention. This shows that if the five nuclear weapons states, the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, and particularly the U.S. and Russia, which possess 95% of the worldfs nuclear arsenal, make a decision, it will be possible to make a real step forward to a nuclear weapons convention without any further delay.
Towards the 2010 NPT Review Conference, the anti-nuclear peace movements have run intensive campaigns for the abolition of nuclear weapons in their respective countries. We have promoted a signature campaign calling to gstart and conclude negotiations of a treaty to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons.h It has commanded wide-ranging support from all generations of people, from those having witnessed the A-bomb tragedies through to young people who bear our future. It is still spreading. On May 2, we are going to present over 6 million signatures, which we carry with us from Japan, in front of the U.N. Building. They include the signatures of more than 1,330 mayors, governors, local assembly speakers or deputy chairs in Japan, which represent more than half of Japanfs local municipalities. These signatures will embody the common will of the people, both in Japan and the rest of the world.
We sincerely hope that in the discussion of the NPT Review Conference, all governments committed to a nuclear weapon-free world are vocal in proposing the start of negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention, thus turning the already reached agreement on the gcomplete elimination of nuclear weaponsh into a reality. We urge President Obama and the leaders of the other nuclear weapons states in particular to take the lead in implementing their gunequivocal undertaking.h To make the 2010 NPT Review Conference a point of decisive turn in opening a boulevard to a nuclear weapon-free world, we call on all the governments and civil societies to do everything that they can. /End