I have been the secretary of Hyogo Gensukyo for 14 years and it is the first time for me to participate in the International Meeting of the World Conference. At this time of the year prefectural secretaries of Gensuikyo usually stay in their hometowns to organize as many people as possible in their delegations to the World Conference until the very last minutes. It hasnft been easy for me to attend the International Meeting since our Gensuikyo is usually at full throttle at this time, organizing a 200-member delegation to the World Conference. This year is different. Until last year, Rev. Ohkawa Yoshiatsu, Hyogo Gensuikyofs Board of Directors chair, was here to speak about our activities. Even after he was diagnosed as in a state of terminal pancreas cancer and told that he had only one year to live, he took part in this Meeting and spoke. He passed away last April after a year-long struggle. He never gave up his strong hope for the movement against nuclear weapons. We later learned that in New Zealand, a country known for its nuclear-free policy like one of Kobe Port banning the entry of nuclear weapon-carrying warships, John Urlich, chair of the Aotearoa New Zealand Peace Council and our close friend and collegue, passed away around the same time. I knew it was a mere coincidence, and I was so shocked by the loss of these great people at the same time. We know that the task now is for us to carry forward the struggle to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons, which they wished to. This is why I am here today, to express my firm commitment to the cause.
On January 9th this year at the US Yokosuka Naval Base, the US 7th Fleet and the US Navy Command in Japan held a ceremony to commend outgoing US Ambassador to Japan Thomas Foley. He was awarded with decoration for his contribution to gincreasing the number of US warship visiting Japanese civil ports.h Indeed, there has been a sharp increase in the number of such port calls in the last several years. In five years between 1996, when the New Guidelines for Japan-US War Cooperation came into effect, and last year, the number of such visits rose to 93. Among the many Japanese ports, only Kobe Port has successfully blocked the entry of US warships (other than supply vessels). The rejection is made possible through the cityfs administrative measure called non-nuclear gKobe Formula,h which has been practiced for 26 years since 1975.
Under the Kobe Formula, Kobe City, which has administrative control over the port, requires foreign military vessels seeking to enter the port to present a certificate that they do not carry nuclear weapons. The city will reject entry if no such certificate is submitted. It is this procedure that is preventing nuclear weapons from being brought into the port and that effectively keeps US warships off shore because of US policy of neither confirm nor deny (NCND) the deployment of nuclear weapons.
In the aftermath of World War II, Kobe Port was under US military occupation and was used by the US 7th Fleet until its complete return to Japan in 1974. During the occupation, as many as 311 US warships visited and used the port a year. Between 1962 and 1964, during the Vietnam War, US aircraft carriers, including the Kitty Hawk, entered the port 14 times. Between 1960, when the revised Japan-US Security Treaty was concluded, and 1974, 432 of such ships visited the port. These numbers reflected that Kobe Portfs capacity was greater than any other Japanese port in meeting various requirements. In light of this and the Japanese governmentsf notorious subservience to the US government, the existence of the non-nuclear Kobe Formula denying entry of warships of the United States, Japanfs ally, is almost a wonder.
There were three elements that contributed to the establishment of the Kobe Formula.
One is the struggle of Kobe citizens for peace. One of such efforts is the annual peace demonstration and the Christmas rally organized by port workers and Kobe citizens. This rally, which began as an action to demand the removal of US military facility from Kobe Port, had been held for the past 40 years. Another is the monthly 6th and 9th fund-raising campaign by Kobe Port Gensuikyo, for the relief of the Hibakusha. For 35 years since 1966 they have continued the campaign without missing even one day. The petition for the elimination of nuclear weapons has been signed by as much as 1 million people out of 1.55 million Kobe citizens.
The second is the power of peace forces in the Kobe City assembly, which reflects its citizensf struggle for peace. In 1971, the Japanese Communist Party won extra 7 seats to establish its 10-member delegation in the city assembly. This reinforcement of the peace force in the city assembly helped adopt the unanimous resolution on the Rejection of Entry of Nuclear Capable Ships into Kobe Port.
The third and last element is the power of the administration implementing progressive policies. It was established in 1973 with the commitment to refuse any types of military facilities or any militarily use of the port. The administration took the will of the residents and the city assembly for peace in its face value and initiated the Kobe Formula.
I am glad to tell you that an initiative for nuclear-free community taken by a local municipality now serves as a guide for the world peace movement. In closing, the NGO Millennium Forum held in May last year proposed that the Kobe Formula be adopted by national parliaments in the world.
Today, however, the Non-Nuclear Kobe Formula is facing a major crisis. The US government and its military are pressing the city to abandon its nuclear-free policy and accept the entry of US warships to the port. They are indeed persistent in making this happen and the way they do it is extraordinary. Everyone, from US ambassadors to Japan to a US general consul, the 7th Fleet Command, the Secretary of Navy, US ministers of political affairs and even the 7th Fleet jazz band! is being mobilized to undermine the nuclear-free status of Kobe Port.
The US consul general, in an effort to achieve their goal, talked to the port workers union and leaders of the ruling parties in the city assembly to get the US intention through and invited local media organizations all the way to Hakkaido on board the Kitty Hawk at a time when the aircraft carrier was carrying out exercises off Hokkaido.
In 1995, the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing, a major earthquake hit Kobe City and took the lives of more than 6,000 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes. Even 6 and half years since then, many of the victims are yet to restore normal life due to the lack of government measures. The US consul general is keen to take advantage of this situation to help US businesses make inroads into Kobefs markets in the guise of assisting Kobefs rehabilitation. He even went on to say that gif Kobe retains the Kobe Formula rejecting the entry of US military ships, it would be misinterpreted that Kobe is an anti-US city,h that it would adversely affect the cityfs economic development and that gthe Kobe Formula portrays the city as an anti-US city, which is obstructing investments to the city.h In saying this, he is playing a nasty trick on the people, businesses and Kobe City, using the restoration assistance as a bait for making the city allow US warships to enter Kobe Port.
Drawing bitter lessons from the war, Japan established a new constitutional principle of peace and pledged never to wage war of aggression. Japan also has the unique experience of having suffered the atomic bombing during the war. Based on the experience and the peoplefs consensus in favor of the abolition of nuclear weapons and against the existence of nuclear weapons on its soil, the Japanese parliament adopted a resolution on the Three Non-Nuclear Principles as a national policy. The Kobe Formula is a practical application of the peace principles, so these principles can be strictly observed. And the procedure (on certification of non-nuclear status) is based on the nationfs constitutional principle of local self-government. It is absolutely legitimate for a Japanese local municipality to exercise control over its ports. No matter how much the national government would want, it cannot deny this fact. Whatfs more, the United States has no right to interfere with Japanese local administrations to change their policies. Why is the US so persistent about Kobe Port? A Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) official in answer said that the US is concerned about the possible proliferation of the Kobe Formula to other municipalities. Another SDF official reportedly said that Kobe Port is the most important bulwark of the nuclear-free policy and that a defeat of this system will allow US warships to visit to any other Japanese port (Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 14, 2000). This is a confession by the US and Japanese military authorities that the Kobe Formula is an obstacle to the use of Kobe Port, which can play an essential role in favor of US military strategies. This is how they are afraid of the possible spread of the nuclear-free practice to other parts of Japan.
Every Japanese port has conditions to take similar nuclear-free measures. The revelation of Japan-US secret arrangements on nuclear weapons, which allow the US to bring in their nuclear weaponry to Japan, has angered the Japanese people. US warshipsf entry into Japanese ports is another source of apprehension on the part of municipalities concerned, compelling some of them to request such warships to certify their nuclear weapon-free status. Today 2,497 Japanese municipalities declare themselves nuclear-free (75% of the nationfs municipalities), many of which are calling on the national government to strictly observe the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. If these three elements are integrated, as Kobe has done, the Kobe Formula can be adopted in many more ports. The nuclear-free municipality movement has been a threat to those forces that cling to nuclear weapons. In 1985, the Liberal Democratic Party in a desperate effort to stop the movement published a pamphlet entitled, g eNuclear-Free Municipality Declarationf does harm to peace for Japan.h Let us use our best wisdom and power to strengthen the effort to raise the nuclear-free declaration effort to a higher stage to achieve a nuclear-free Japan.
I call on the Japanese delegates to the World Conference to take a fresh look at the Non-Nuclear Kobe Formula in order to take concrete actions to make the Three Non Nuclear Principles a law and press our cities and towns to follow the Kobe Formula. This will ensure us a nuclear-free Japan.
We are now to get the city administration advance non-nuclear and peace principles as by the cityfs policy. It will ensure not only Kobe Port but also the city as a whole become nuclear-free by legislating an ordinance. With such an ordinance in place, the city will state its position not to use its facilities, financial resources and workers other than for peaceful purposes. This can then serve as a standard for responding to the national government requesting local governments to provide its workers and facilities for military activities under the New Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation. Local municipalities should establish their own standards regarding interpretation of the law, as the national government is not the only entity endowed with such right. This will be a force to refuse unreasonable pressure to destroy the Kobe Formula and allow US warships to enter the port.
I call on you to learn from the Kobe Formula, now an internationally recognized guideline for nuclear-free society, in your efforts for nuclear weapon-free zones. I would like to propose making March 18, the anniversary of Kobe Formula, and June 4, the day the New Zealand nuclear-free law came into effect, as days of international joint action to appeal for nuclear-free ports. From Kobe, New Zealand and other parts of the world, we can use the Internet to inform the world of our activities. Letfs organize actions on those days to call on local governments, the central government and port authorities concerned to work for making ports nuclear-free. I would also like to propose an international joint action to call for an international conference to help strengthen the effort to reduce the danger of nuclear weapons, which was agreed on at the UN Millennium Summit.
Let us strive for the establishment of nuclear-weapon free zones. It will be conducive to the abolition of nuclear weapons through making our municipalities nuclear-free.