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NGO statement: First Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW

Yayoi Tsuchida

Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo)

June 22, 16:30 – 18:00:

Agenda item 11(e). Victim assistance,
environmental remediation and international cooperation
and assistance (articles 6 and 7)

Extraordinary damage caused by nuclear weapons is still lingering at various parts of the world. Those committed criminal use and tests of nuclear weapons have not taken responsibility for the damage to humankind and the earth. The TPNW established their obligation that when they join the Treaty, they have to give "assistance" to the victims. It also stipulates the State Parties’ obligation to provide assistance to the victims. I would like to make proposals from civil society for strengthening the implementation of this task.

 In July 2021, a landmark ruling was handed down in a lawsuit filed by 84 people who were exposed to the radioactive "black rain" in Hiroshima. They wanted to be recognized as the Hibakusha or atomic bomb survivors, and get health assistance. The trial revealed that many Hibakusha have been neglected for 77 years since the atomic bombing, due to the underestimation and cover-up of the real damage. Until now, the Hibakusha had to prove themselves that their sicknesses were caused by the A-bomb radiation. The ruling, however, states that "relief must be provided to all cases that the possibility of health damage caused by the atomic bombing cannot be denied”. It opened a new avenue of relief for the Hibakusha. We believe that this stance should be applied to the assistance of all the victims in the world as its principle.

In order to provide appropriate assistance to the victims, it is essential to understand the reality of their sufferings and demands. In this regard, the role of civil society is important. Through its daily activities, the Japanese movement has long supported and developed solidarity with the Hibakusha and the victims of nuclear tests. We have accumulated knowledge and experiences which we are sure are useful in promoting assistance to them. We remain ready to make a positive contribution to this task.

Now, we have to do utmost to stop the use of nuclear weapons and open up the way to achieving the abolition of nuclear weapons, which will be the greatest "support" for the victims. Their earnest desire is to get nuclear weapons eliminated in their lifetime. To this end, we want to appeal to all national governments to invite the Hibakusha and nuclear test victims to their countries and make assistance to the activities to inform their people of the inhumanity of nuclear weapons.

Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo)