International Meeting
2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Saito Kazuyoshi
International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)
Veterans against War - Japan

We are meeting at the World Conference against A & H Bombs to mark a historic first step in this century towards getting our planet free of the terror of nuclear weapons.

1. International opinion against nuclear weapons is on the rise today.

Calls for the abolition of nuclear weapons are heard everywhere around the world. One good example is the Final Document adopted at the NPT Review Conference in April and May, 2000. In that document, the all nuclear weapons states agreed to an unequivocal commitment to eliminate their nuclear arsenals. Last autumn, in a move to endorse this unequivocal undertaking, the United Nations Millennium Assembly adopted, by an overwhelming majority, a resolution proposed by the New Agenda Coalition countries. In May last year, representatives of more than 1,000 non-governmental organizations from 100 countries met at the Millennium Forum held at United Nations in New York. They unanimously adopted the final declaration, in which abolition of nuclear weapons was called for. With this growing international demand for a nuclear-free world, the task now for us is to work out practical and steady ways to achieve the complete abolition of nuclear weapons.

2. There is a need to stop the adverse currents that are blocking the mobilization of public opinion against nuclear weapons.

Let me point out three such adverse moves.
  1. We must carefully study the policies of the US Bush administration. The new administration, which started this February, has pursued the national missile defense programs. The programs represent the dangerous policy of the US for a new arms buildup, which involves nuclear weapons. The administration has also expressed its intention to not to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. At the same time, the US is developing low-yield small nuclear weapons, which are likely to be regarded as more usable than existing high-yield weapons. We must keep reminding ourselves that the US, Russia, UK, France, and China altogether possess around 30,000 nuclear warheads, and they are on this planet today.
  2. Problems of the Japanese government. In Japan, a new cabinet is established in April led by Prime Minister Koizumi Jun-ichiro. Koizumi embodies Japan as an US satellite, as Chalmers Johnson has pointed out in his recent book "Blow Back: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire." Koizumi is outspoken about his submission to the US policies and demands. In response to US requests, he has claimed that Japan should exercise the right to collective self-defense, in defiance of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. Also he has stated that he understands the US missile defense programs. He has publicly expressed his willingness to visit Yasukuni Shrine not as an individual but as the Prime Minister. He even advocates the need to abolish or change Article 9, a clause that renounces war as a right of sovereign state as a means of settling international disputes. The hawkish Prime Minister is ready to help the United States develop warmongering policies centered around its nuclear force. Recently on environmental issues, his lack of diplomatic skill was demonstrated to the world. In the autumn of 1997, in an effort to protect the global environment and after painstaking efforts of international community, the Kyoto Protocol on global warming was adopted. However, when it was certain that the Protocol would come into effect if Japan ratified it, Koizumi expressed his support to the US rejection of the Protocol, in the recent summit talks with Bush.

    Japan is the only country having suffered the actual attack of nuclear weapons in war. Nevertheless, the Japanese government has long accepted the US "nuclear umbrella" and even allowed the stationing of US military forces with nuclear capability on its soil under secret Japan-US agreements. The subservience has been once again demonstrated in its response to the recent rape of an Okinawan woman by a US soldier. It was nothing of a government of a sovereign state would take. It showed no protest to the US government. In doing so, the Japanese government is running counter to the international call for the abolition of nuclear weapons. We cannot allow this situation to continue.

  3. The US is developing a new global strategy, with an aim to strengthen its domination of the world also through militarizing the outer space. It plans to deploy weapons and spy satellites in space, and so doing providing "information umbrella" in addition to the present "nuclear umbrella". Experts and many others are giving significant discussion to this issue. Let me just focus on the danger of the "information umbrella", which is assumed to play a role of a law enforcement officer in the process of economic globalization and will be closely connected to the US nuclear strategy with the "missile defense" programs.
For us who demand the abolition of nuclear weapons, the task is to firmly stand against these dangerous moves.

3. Activities in Asia and Japan for peace and for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

We have seen some noteworthy development for peace in Asia. We had the North-South summit on the Korean Peninsula in June 2000 and the signing of the Treaty on Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone, which has been followed with the establishment of a committee on the treaty. These are trends we should actively support and promote. In Japan, let us keep our efforts on the signature drive in support of the "Appeal from Hiroshima and Nagasaki" and on the promotion of nuclear-free declaration of local governments.

4. Role of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and lawyers in general.

I am here today representing the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL). The ADL, now based in Brussels, Belgium, was founded in October 1946 in Paris, and has served as an advisory body to the UN Economic and Social Council. The IADL has always been in solidarity with the Japanese Movement against A & H Bombs led by the Japan Council against A & H Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo). Last October, the IADL held its 15th Congress in Havana, in cooperation with the American Association of Jurists. The congress elected Mr. Jitendra Sharma from India as its president and Mr. Beinusz Szmukler from Argentine as the general secretary. The Japanese delegation proposed the following resolutions and they were adopted by the congress among others resolutions. (see the reference).
  1. For a 21st Century Without Nuclear Weapons
  2. For the Withdrawal of Foreign Military Bases
  3. For Enduring Peace in East Asia
  4. Democratic Control of Globalizing Transnational Corporations
  5. Protection of the Dugong
  6. For a Successful COLAP III (the 3rd Conference of Lawyers of Asia and the Pacific)
In order to bring together lawyers throughout the world for the abolition of nuclear weapons, the IADL must strengthen our efforts as an integral part of the movement to abolish nuclear weapons.

Lawyers have a particular role to play. This is to inform the people in the world of the legal issues on nuclear weapons, that they violate international law. On July 8 in 1996, the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion on the legality of nuclear weapons. The opinion states, with some conditions, that the use of nuclear weapons is against law. Judge Weeramantry from Sri Lanka, stated his dissenting opinion on the courtfs failure to hand down a straightforward and clear decision that the use of nuclear weapons or threat of use of nuclear weapons is against international law in all circumstances without exception. He argued that the court could have permanently settled this matter if it had taken such decision. I agree with and support his opinion. On July 31 this year, the Japan Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms, jointly with the Japan Federation of Bar Associations invited Judge Weeramantry to speak in Japan on his case on the illegality of nuclear weapons.

Our task is to make his legal opinion known to the world. Nuclear weapons are against international law in light of positive law. I would suggest that the UN to adopt a treaty on nuclear weapons in order to block arguments in favor of the legitimacy of nuclear weapons. A draft of such a treaty is already in place. In October 1996, Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Weapons based in New York issued a model of nuclear convention. The text has been made available.

Under the auspices of the IADL, the Conferences of Lawyers of Asian and the Pacific (COLAP) have been held in New Delhi in 1985, and in Tokyo and Osaka in 1991. The 3rd Conference (COLAP III) will be held in Hanoi this October. The basic theme of conference will be "Globalizaion and Peace, Human Rights, Development, and Progress in Asia-Pacific Region." The conference will also discuss the issue of nuclear weapons abolition. I will report the outcome of this World Conference, which I am confident will be success, to the IADL and the COLAP III.

5. Relief to and solidarity with the Hibakusha

The starting point of the movement against atomic and hydrogen bombs was the lesson learned from the indescribable tragedy of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 56 years ago. We have also drawn lessons from the suffering and damages caused by nuclear weapon testing around the world and informed the world about them. Today the Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bombs are getting older. We must keep listening to their voice and do everything we can to help them. It is a shame to have a government, which turns cold shoulders to the Hibakusha. There are many more things that the government of the a-bombed country could and must do for them. A number of Hibakusha have filed lawsuits against the government to get legitimate relief and for the cause of the entire Hibakusha. A lawsuit filed by Ms. Matsuya Hideko, a Nagasaki hibakusha, lasted more than 10 years, in 5 different courts. The case was finally settled in favor of Ms. Matsuya when the Supreme Court ruled that her illnesses were caused by the A-bombing. Two other similar cases filed by Mr. Azuma Kazuo from Tokyo and Mr. Yasui Koichi from Hokkaido, are still pending in court. Mr. Kwak Kwi Hun, a South Korean Hibakusha, recently won an Osaka District Court ruling. It stated that the Japanese government suspension of providing him with the health care benefit, which he had been entitled to while in Japan, on the grounds of his return to South Korea, is against the law. However, the national government and Osaka prefectural government appealed the case to a high court. This is outrageous since the ruling is indisputably legitimate to my eye and the eyes of many other lawyers. The Mr. Kwakfs case is significant importance also in international perspective. We are firmly in support the case.

The issue of providing relief measures to the Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and victims of production and testing of nuclear weapons and victims of nuclear power plants has been a fundamental objective of this conference, along with the prevention of nuclear war and the abolition of nuclear weapons. Let us continue to work until we achieve them.

No more Hiroshimas, No more Nagasakis, No more Hibakusha.

To the 2001 Wolrd Conference against A & H Bombs