Statement to the 2nd Preparatory Committee for the NPT Review Conference

Demand for Straightforward Negotiations on a Treaty Totally Banning and Eliminating Nuclear Weapons as an Urgent Priority

April, 1998
Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Japan GENSUIKYO)

With the turning of a new page in history into the 21st century shortly ahead, the people of the world are urgently calling for a total ban and the elimination of nuclear weapons which have brought the human race and their civilization on the verge of annihilation many times over. The governments of the nuclear weapons states and those in alliance with them, however, are refusing to undertake negotiations for the abolition of nuclear weapons, by counter-posing the NPT process and various agreements reached at the time when the indefinite extension of the NPT was enforced in 1995.

This current situation urges all negotiators, the governments and other concerned people to think again, without any illusions, of the real problem intrinsic to NPT, as to whether or not the negotiations conducted within the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty can really lead to abolition. What then is NPT?

First, NPT is a treaty that has generated conflicting opinions and contradictions between the governments of the world as well as in the peace movements from the very beginning. As has been repeatedly pointed out, the fundamental problem lies in its discriminatory nature, in that while denying both the possession and acquisition of nuclear weapons to the overwhelming majority of states, it allows continued possession by the existing nuclear weapons states. In order for this contradiction to be mitigated, a reference is made in the preamble and Article 6 to an effort for disarmament to be made by the nuclear weapons states. Yet as many observers point out, these phrases promise only to pursue negotiations in such a manner as in good faith, or the cessation of the nuclear arms race, and on effective measures relating to nuclear disarmament, without giving any binding promise to accomplish the elimination of nuclear weapons, nor even nuclear disarmament. In fact, even now, 28 years after NPT was enforced, nuclear weapons states' governments still refuse to make a pledge for the abolition of their own nuclear arsenals or move into negotiations for a total ban on nuclear weapons. This evidences that NPT does not bind the hands of the nuclear weapons states.

Second, the indefinite extension of the treaty adopted by the review conference in April 1995 further consolidated the framework of the treaty as one that ensures the possession of nuclear weapons exclusively by the current nuclear powers for an indefinite period. At that time, too, the pursuit of disarmament negotiations in good faith was promised, and the completion of Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty negotiations and a ban on the production of fissile material declared. But the nuclear powers promised neither abolition of their own nuclear arsenal nor a treaty banning nuclear weapons. In fact, not only has no effort for abolition been made for three years since the indefinite extension was fixed, but the governments of the USA and Russia have continued nuclear build-up, as seen in their sub-critical nuclear tests. In the same period, the US leaders have declared that the nuclear deterrence will remain part of world strategy into the 21st century, and even a possible use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states has been suggested as an option to counter the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons.

Third, critical attention must also be paid to the rhetoric of abolition of nuclear weapons as an ultimate goal , which nuclear weapons states governments and their supporters always use whenever they intend to maintain or consolidate the nuclear monopoly framework. This ultimate goal argument was used in the Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament adopted by the NPT review conference in 1995 when indefinite extension was passed, as well as in some UNGA resolutions mainly promoted by the governments of nuclear weapons states and their allies. This terminology is not intended to emphasize an effort for nuclear disarmament, but to postpone abolition, the urgent vital task for the whole of humanity, to the ultimate future , thus legitimizing ongoing nuclear monopoly for a foreseeable future . In years of nuclear disarmament negotiations, the formulation of abolition as ultimate goal has not even once used for any purpose other than this.

The Japanese Government has acted as promoter of a UNGA resolution on nuclear disarmament characterized by such an ultimate goal argument for years, taking advantage of due expectation in itself placed on the government of the only A-bombed country. Yet, this same Japanese Government has never voted for any resolution that calls for straightforward abolition. As this shows, the ultimate goal argument has been used in Japan, as well as internationally, to divert the demand for abolition as an urgent task and to thwart it. Playing the role as a stronghold in US military strategy, to which Japan is bound by the military alliance, the Japanese government has condoned the bringing-in of nuclear weapons to Japan, even by concluding secret agreements, and has never called on the US government for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Fourth, the NPT regime is becoming unable even to prevent nuclear proliferation itself. We do oppose the possession of nuclear weapons by any country whatsoever. Yet it is more than self-evident that a treaty which justifies the possession of nuclear weapons by some countries cannot deny them to other countries. Nor can the nuclear weapons countries deny them to others. This is rudimentary if international relations are to be governed by democratic rule.

As declared by the first resolution of the first session of the UNGA in 1946, nuclear weapons must be eliminated from the national arsenal. There is no option for the survival of humankind other than this. The 28 years of negotiations under the NPT regime tell us that we should squarely face up to the fundamental problem of NPT as treaty designed to serve to the nuclear monopoly. The abolition of nuclear weapons can be achieved only through negotiations aimed at a treaty eliminating nuclear weapons as a straightforward objective.

Given that the fate of the human-race is still threatened by the danger of nuclear catastrophe, due to the obstinacy of a small number of governments, with elementally democratic rule in international politics being disregarded, we believe that the problem must be presented before the people, the world over, for a solution. We therefore propose that the 4th UN Special Session on Disarmament be convened with a total ban and the elimination of nuclear weapons as its major agenda item and objective before the close of this century. Ensuring the survival of the human-race and their civilization is an absolute duty to be fulfilled by the people of this century to all generations who will live in the next centuries.