Bikini DayKeynote Report:“With a Success in NPT New York Action,Let Us Mark a Decisive Turn in 2010 to a Nuclear Weapon-Free World”
2010 Bikini Day Gensuikyo National Conference, February 28, 2010
Secretary General, Gensuikyo
It is 56th year since the tragedy o Bikini. The 2010 Bikini Day conference is turning out to be an event of vital importance. We have important guests, who deserve the significance of this conference. Let me introduce them to you. Ms. Abacca Madison from Rongelap, the Marshall Islands and Mr. Matashichi Oishi, a former crew member of the fifth Lucky Dragon, the two dedicated people consistently working to make known the truth of the Bikini Tragedy, Mr. Satoru Konishi from the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bombs Sufferers’ Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) and Mr. Yasuo Ogata, the vice-chair of the Japanese Communist Party, and our overseas guests, Dr. Joseph Gerson, Ms. Lisalinda Natividad, Mr. Jeoong Jong Kwon and Mr. Lee Jun Dyu. On behalf of the organizer I welcome them and extend our warmest greeting of solidarity to them. A few days ago, I received a letter from Hidao Sugiyama, a leader of the Hibakusha in Shizuoka. It says, “I have won the recognition of my disease as one caused by A-bomb. despite the disease, I do not lose heart. The number of the signatures I have collected has now reached 1,400”. He is now in this conference hall. So, let me introduce him to you, now.
In this 10th year of the 21st century, the world is continuing to change.
On Feb. 15 this year, in commemoration of the 7th year of the global action against war on Iraq in 2003, Two hundred and 50 organizations together launched a worldwide campaign to call on President Obama and world leaders to start negotiations to abolish nuclear weapons. The campaign will be culminated in a massive demonstration on May 2 in New York City, where the will of the people in the world demanding a nuclear weapon-free world will be represented by tens of millions of signatures. People of Japan, the US and the rest of the world will march hand in hand, with a slogan, which is no longer “Remember Pearl Harbor” but “Ban and Eliminate nuclear weapons!”
Toward that goal, the signature campaign for the “Nuclear Weapon-free World” is collecting momentum. The Hibakusha stands in the forefront in many places. In response to calls from residents’ groups, many local governments from Hokkaido through Kyushu and Okinawa, are following the example of Miyakonojo, Nagasaki prefecture, including Yaizu, the homeport of the fifth Lucky Dragon. The total number of the signatures already collected has exceeded 4 million, and the number of the mayors who appended their signatures has reached 700, which represent some 40% of all Japanese mayors. Through three days discussions, let us learn from one another, share energy with one another and spread the campaign to every corner of the country. Let us, thus, ensure that the will of the people of this A-bombed country will be presented to the NPT RefCon in May in New York.
Note what has generated “Change”. It was actions of tens of millions of people who took action in opposition to attack on Iraq. It was the sensible judgment of people in the US and the rest of the world who said “No” to the Bush Administration’s politics. And it was the decision of the Japanese voters who refused the LDP-Komeito Government that disdained the Japanese Constitution and the “Three Non-Nuclear Principles”.
Elected to the new president, Barack Obama declared to the world that as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility” to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”
The present moves of both the US and Japanese Governments are evidencing, however that without even heavier pressures mounted on them, these promises will never be fulfilled.
True, President Obama, in November last year in Tokyo, repeated that he would pursue a world without nuclear weapons. But he, at the same time, stated that “So long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a strong and effective nuclear deterrent.” Ten days ago, Vice-president Biden, quoting from Obama, said that the US would retain “a safe, secure, and effective arsenal as long as we still need it”. He thus called for a major increase in the budget allocation for research and development of nuclear weapons.
If nuclear powers remain to declare one another, as many do now, that as long as others have nuclear weapons, we retain ours, will a world without nuclear weapons really be achieved? If they remain to keep this as their posture, do they think others will remain committed to non proliferation for sure? The answer to these questions seems self-evident.
The posture of the Hatoyama Government on nuclear weapon abolition has problems in common. His government ordered the investigation on the secret nuclear agreements between Japan and the US. It is trying to make adjustment in the nuclear policy followed by the LDP-Komeito Party Government, such as indicating that it would stand in favor of the security assurance to non-nuclear weapons states or of the sole purpose of nuclear arsenals being to deter others from launching nuclear attack. Yet, if it keeps refusing to call for a total ban on nuclear weapons, claiming that Japan’s security is being defended by US nuclear weapons, as it does now, the policy readjustment of any kind cannot lead to a world without nuclear weapons.
In fact, in the UNGA session last autumn, the US delegation, while speaking about a nuclear weapon-free world, voted against a proposal by Malaysia and many others on the start of nuclear weapons convention and even one that called for a treaty banning the use of nuclear weapons. The Japanese delegation, then, expressed its abstention on both resolutions, as the former LDP-Komeito Governments had done so, saying that the time was not yet matured”.
They should look at the reality. Except India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea, all the other governments are now parties to NPT. Of these 189 countries, 184 are placing themselves under the treaty obligation for non-nuclear weapons states of not acquiring or developing nuclear weapons, and those that have nuclear facilities for civil use are accepting inspection by IAEA. In addition, three non-NPT parties of India, Pakistan and North Korea voted in support of Malaysia’s proposal for a nuclear convention, together with china. This fact demonstrates that far from being premature, the time is ripe. If the handful nuclear weapons states make a decision, the start of negotiations for a total ban is possible even right now.
As our petition says, we must demand the start of negotiations for a total ban and the elimination of nuclear weapons without delay from President Obama and other world leaders. In the same way, let us call on the Japanese Government to abandon the myth of the Japan-US Alliance being a cornerstone for Japan’s diplomacy. The true cornerstone is the national experience of suffering from nuclear bombs, as well as the Japanese Constitution. On this basis, it should move for a total ban on nuclear weapons.
Finally, as a duty of the keynote speaker, let me propose some actions that we can commit immediately.
First is to reach the goal of 12 million signatures nationwide, which represents about 10% of the national population, and the equivalent goal in every region or social sector in Japan. Obtaining support from more than half of all Japanese mayors is also our goal. Since the NPT RevCon will be held from May 3rd to 28th, our deadline is May 28th. But, anyone who appends signature expects to have his/her signature submitted to RevCon. That is why we ship major part of the collected signatures on March 16th from Tokyo to New York. I am therefore to ask you to hurry up, so that your delegates will not have to carry too many petition forms.
We must build a movement like one in Miyakonojo in every workplace, campus and community. At the same time, please recall the basic spirit of the signatures campaign. The New Japan Women’s Association shows excellent example. Though it has already reached the goal of one million signatures, its campaign news distributed by fax keep attaching the greatest importance to each person who signs. Focusing on his or her resolve, it describes people form their resolve for nuclear abolition by appending his signature. Let us intertwine our original intention and our faith and, by all means, we must achieve the goal.
Second actions to be committed is to further reinforce our campaign to get Japan out of “nuclear umbrella”, to ensure that Japan will seek a non-nuclear policy based on the Constitution and the Three Non-nuclear Principles. It should go in parallel with the signature campaign. . As long as we depend on military alliances and “nuclear deterrence”, it is clear that there will be no fundamental solution to the issues such as, of Futenma base, or of the Aircraft Carrier homeporting in Tokyo Bay, or of the tax money used for the build up of bases on Guam, or of any other move related to the US bases in Japan. Even if the Japanese Government says that it will stand in the forefront in the effort for the elimination of nuclear weapons, no one will really give trust to it, if it at the same tame stays relying on the “nuclear umbrella” provided by the nuclear weapon power. Through our 2010 Peace March that will walk from May to August, let us keep building the public opinion to have the Japan-US secret nuclear arrangements to be fully revealed and denounced, demanding the full implementation of both the Three Non-nuclear Principles and the Japanese Constitution. Let us build support for a Japan of peace, free of nuclear weapons.
Third, I want to appeal especially to the youth. Current movement of nuclear abolition spreading all over the world is originated in sorrow of A-bomb victims who have not only been hurt but also lost their family, hope for the future and other aspects of humanity. In a recently published book “Give me back myself”, which records the process of A-bomb survivors lawsuit, Chiaki Hasegawa, the author, expresses his feeling in the book: “ the plaintiffs’ struggle with exposure of their suffering life over 60 years, changed judges and public opinion, and drove the government into corner… If I look back, the whole process of the lawsuit seems to be a great storyteller that calls for the abolition of nuclear abolition.”
I hope that people from young generations will visit New York, listen to A-bomb survivors’ experience and inherit their desire and struggle. Let us together develop concrete forms of action in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and every other part of the country toward the NPT-New York actions and further toward august, to the 2010 World Conference against A and H Bomb.