2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs - Hiroshima

Ikuro Anzai
Drafting Committee Chair

Keynote Report of International Meeting Declaration

The International Meeting of the 2001 World Conference against A and H Bombs, the first one in the 21st Century, was held on Aug. 3-5 at Hiroshima Kosei Nenkin Kaikan Hall with the participation of 220 people from across the country and abroad. We had an active exchange of opinions about the characteristics of the situation and the direction we should take from here on. The theme of this year's World Conference was gNuclear Weapons States Must Make Good on Their Promise to Abolish Nuclear Weapons: International Cooperation and Solidarity Will Ensure the Future of the World.h

In May last year, the final year of the 20th Century, 187 countries, including nuclear weapons states, reached agreement in the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and promised to abolish nuclear arsenals. This agreement was confirmed in the subsequent United Nations General Assembly last autumn.

The NPT came into effect in 1970. In short, the treaty defined as "nuclear weapons states" the five states (the USA, Russia, U.K. , France and China) that had already developed nuclear arms before the treaty took effect, and does not allow the rest of the "non-nuclear weapons states" to acquire nuclear weapons. @In order to deal with what was criticized as the unfair nature of the treaty and what to do with the nuclear arms of the nuclear weapons states, Article 6 of the treaty provided that nuclear weapons states are obligated to promote nuclear disarmament. It was decided to hold the Review Conference every five years to evaluate efforts to fulfill their obligations. But actually, since the treaty came into effect, the nuclear arsenals of the nuclear weapons states have only increased in terms of both quality and quantity. In 1995, the 25th year since the treaty came into effect, the treaty itself was to be reviewed. After consultation, it was decided to extend it indefinitely and the review every five years was to be continued. The first review after the extension was made in 2000, the last year of the 20th century. The voices of those calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons, who had exhausted their patience with the failure of the nuclear weapons states to meet their obligations, were finally able to drive them to agree to the unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. The NPT itself is not a treaty totally banning and eliminating nuclear weapons. Even Under Secretary General Jayantha Dhanapala of the UN Department of Disarmament Affairs, who was the chair in the 1995 Review Conference, admitted this and said that another treaty would be necessary for the abolition of nuclear weapons. It is nothing but a treaty totally banning and eliminating nuclear weapons that the Japan's anti-A and H Bomb movement has sought for a long time. The cry of the A-bomb sufferers who saw the mushroom cloud rising up into the sky of this city 56 years ago is echoing all around the world as world opinion that demands the abolition of nuclear weapons be a new agenda for international politics to tackle. We must not allow the undertaking to end in mere lip service. We must continue to urge them to implement it, saying "Once you promise something, you must carry it out". The U.S., the most powerful nuclear weapons state, has condemned rogue states at every opportunity to justify its own powerful military arsenal including nuclear weapons. The faithless attitude of the US toward the unequivocal undertaking would invite criticism as the act of "rogue states". To draw an analogy from a Japanese proverb, it will be "A Liar child will become a rogue adult."

Dear participants, the theme of the World Conference that "nuclear weapons states must make good on their promise to abolish nuclear weapons" is a grand question in terms of human history, in which we must prove that human beings are able to rid the world of nuclear weapons, the most destructive device ever produced by humanity. The world can be changed and the driving force to change the world must be each one of us. The key is in people coming to this realization. Shuichi Kato, a social critic, once said, "We can abolish nuclear weapons because it must be done." To make this statement come true, people should be awakened to the fact that nuclear weapons need to be abolished. We have to deeply recognize the inhumanity of nuclear weapons and establish the indomitable resolve to eliminate them. Those who survived the hell on earth under the mushroom cloud which rose over Hiroshima 56 years ago have--despite the hell they relive by keeping the memory alive-- made people see that nuclear weapons are inhumane, evil weapons which deny our humanity. We must not turn our faces away from the nuclear hell that the Hibakusha experienced. We have to face up to it squarely. We have to cultivate anger towards nuclear weapons and drive into a corner those whose fingers are poised over the launch button, ready to unleash a hell on earth. The International Meeting, held prior to the World Conference - Hiroshima, was a precious occasion to share our experiences and wisdom about how to press the nuclear weapon states to implement the abolition of nuclear weapons based on the recognition of their inhuman nature. As chair of the Drafting Committee of the declaration, let me explain in brief the declaration of the International Meeting. Please refer to the declaration distributed to you at the entrance.

Noting that "As we entered the 21st century, the demand for a nuclear-free world gathered momentum in international politics and also in international public opinion," the declaration calls on "people around the world to work together to abolish nuclear weapons, which continue to threaten the survival of humankind, and build a world where justice and hope will prevail." As I said, it points out that last year "the United States and the other nuclear weapons states, under pressure from the world public, agreed on an 'unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals'", that "the cry of the Hibakusha - 'Hiroshima and Nagasaki Never Again' - has become a worldwide demand for the abolition of nuclear weapons", that "Along with the efforts of the governments of the New Agenda Group, Non-Aligned countries and other non-nuclear governments, this call is increasing its impact on international politics." In this part, the advance of the anti-nuclear movement is summed up.

Then, next, the declaration looks at the real situation of the pro-nuclear forces, pointing out that "nuclear weapons states are showing no willingness to set about the elimination of their nuclear arsenals; while talking about reduction of a certain number of nuclear warheads, the U.S. and Russia still cling to a policy of nuclear deterrence on the excuse of 'national security' or 'new threats', and try to maintain their privileged nuclear monopoly." In particular, it criticizes the U.S. Bush administration for an attempt to "establish nuclear supremacy by developing a new system that combines nuclear weapons with 'Missile Defense' systems." It states that "this will, in turn, give the U.S. more freedom to initiate nuclear attacks and thus reinforce its infamous first strike strategy." Touching on the U.S. maneuver to bury the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, it concludes that the urgent task for us now, in order to achieve world peace, is to make headway on the abolition of nuclear weapons, and to stop these two dangerous moves."

Furthermore, as you know, the U.S. has turned its back on worldwide efforts for the protection of the environment, as seen in its announcement rejecting efforts for the reversal of global warming. Concerning this, the declaration says, "The arrogance of superpowers in seeking their own narrow 'national interests' has drawn protest over the issues of environmental destruction, unemployment, poverty, hunger and debt. Their position becomes more and more incompatible with the interests of the peoples and governments of other countries. The establishment of a just and peaceful democratic international order based on the U.N. Charter is an ever more pressing task."

On the other hand, the Japanese government is moving to deeply involve Japan in U.S. nuclear policy, expressing an "understanding of and cooperation with 'Missile Defense'". In addition, "Japan hosts more than 130 U.S. military bases under the Japan-U.S. military alliance" and "moves for Japan to take a more and more substantial part in U.S. military activities" have been strengthened. The declaration says, "Military alliances are clearly incompatible with wishes for peace and opposition to nuclear weapons. Japanese peace forces are urging the Japanese Government to take positive action for nuclear weapons abolition, as befits the government of the only A-bombed country, and to abide by the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. The Japanese peace forces reject attempts to justify the past war of aggression through the authorization of a school textbook which gives a distorted picture of history, and they are working for full implementation of Article 9 of the Constitution. These efforts are important in order to reinforce the ongoing developments in Asia in favor of peace."

"As the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki shows, the security of the world and the future of humankind will be assured only by sweeping away the threat of nuclear weapons." Based on this basic recognition, the declaration of the first World Conference in the 21st Century put forward the following four core actions to swiftly achieve a world set free of nuclear weapons.

The first one is to "urge the nuclear weapons states to fulfill their 'unequivocal undertaking' to eliminate their nuclear arsenals" and "call on all governments to ensure that the U.N. General Assembly, the Conference on Disarmament and other relevant international bodies make a decision to start negotiations immediately on a treaty to abolish and totally ban nuclear weapons." This proposal is a drastic and fundamental prescription for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

The second one is to "make widely known to the public the dangerous nature of the 'Missile Defense' program and urgently develop international joint actions to demand the cancellation of the program." This is a call to take urgent action against an imminent and dangerous move.

The third one is to "demand a halt to the development and testing of nuclear weapons, ratification and enforcement of the CTBT, deep cuts in nuclear arsenals, and renunciation of the policies of the first use of nuclear weapons as well as their use against non-nuclear weapons states", to "oppose the bringing in and deployment of nuclear weapons in foreign territories or territorial waters, or demand their removal if they are already there". "The expansion and consolidation of nuclear-free zones and municipalities" are called for. It also demands that "foreign military bases and pacts be dismantled and that the cause of the damage and harm from the bases be eradicated."

The fourth one is to "undertake fact-finding on the damage in all its aspects, caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and by the development, testing and production of nuclear weapons, and make this damage known to the public." It also demands compensation and relief for the victims. In solidarity with the struggle to end the damage from the nuclear fuel cycle, it also opposes "the dangerous use of plutonium and depleted uranium."

This is the prescription put forward in the International Meeting, the operational meeting of anti-nuclear and peace movement. Unless we have firm determination and carry out a great movement in accordance with this prescription, these excellent remedies will be nothing but pie in the sky. This attitude would make us no different from nuclear weapons states that are reluctant to positively implement the unequivocal undertaking. Please bring the wisdom produced by the International Meeting home with you and carry out positive and creative actions in communities, workplaces and on campuses.

Stressing that "the responsibility of the anti-nuclear peace movement and NGOs of the world is especially great now," the declaration makes a call to "further develop cooperation for a total ban on and the elimination of nuclear weapons, beyond all differences of state, ethnicity, thought and belief." It concludes with the call: "We will widen cooperation with national governments that stand for reason and against nuclear superpower privilege in their diplomatic efforts. Let us build a new global dynamism to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons and to open up a new future for humanity."

Let me repeat again. The world can be changed. We are the driving force to bring about changes. I will conclude my report, appealing to you for taking back home the impressions you got with friends who share the same purpose and gathered here from across the country and around the world and the prescription worked out by the shared wisdom of the Japanese and overseas participants, and put it into practice as a large-scale movement.

To the 2001 Wolrd Conference against A & H Bombs