Bikini DayTsuchida Yayoi's Speech at International Forum
February 27, 2011
2011 Bikini Day International Forum
Assistant General Secretary, Japan Against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo)
Friends from Japan and far away from overseas,
Thank you very much for your participation in the international forum of Bikini Day. I welcome you all.
On February 15 this year, we launched a new signature campaign in support of the “Appeal for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons” as a next step leading to the abolition of nuclear weapons. I express my heartfelt thanks to you all for your help and support to the campaign. I am pleased to inform you that it has gained much greater sympathy than we expected.
Let me point out the characteristics of the support we have received. First, many prominent people in Japan expressed support to the campaign. They include leading A-bomb survivors, mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Nobel laureates on a variety of categories, such as literature and physics, popular singers and talents and record-holding athletes. Further encouraging is that municipal leaders including mayors and assembly speakers, who have constitutional responsibility for security of residents, have endorsed it. Not only that, great figures of more than 50-year old of Japan’s anti-A and H-Bomb movements have given support to the campaign, irrespective of difference of opinions, and in their messages expressed their willingness to work together.
International support and solidarity with the campaign is also spreading no less broadly than in Japan. First of all, the campaign has received support from the leaders of worldwide anti-nuclear and peace movements, who called for the commencement of negotiations for a convention to eliminate nuclear weapons. Taking this opportunity, I want to express my sincere appreciation to our friends Joe and Tim and all of you for your help to garner support to the campaign. One more feature on the launch of it is that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and High Representative Sergio Duarte gave us warm and inspiring solidarity messages.
Reaction to the campaign clearly shows that the core of the “next step” is the action of the peoples of the world demanding a total ban on nuclear weapons.
It will be soon 66 years from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and 2 days later we will have the 57th commemoration of Bikini tragedy. Now, we, the anti-nuclear movements of the world, are witnessing a historic opportunity for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Of course, we don’t expect that the leaders of nuclear weapons states will recover their senses themselves and take initiatives to eliminate nuclear weapons. Actually, President Obama of the nuclear super power, the NATO summit and the new National Defense Program Outline of US allied Japan have beautified nuclear weapons as “nuclear deterrence” and have continued to cling to a devastating concept of “security” by nuclear weapons.
However, 21st century is not an era of them being able to have everything their own way, which was demonstrated by the process and outcome of the NPT Review Conference in May, 2010.
First is the final document of the NPT Conference. While a handful of nuclear weapons states made strong resistance, the majority of governments listened to the voice of the peoples of the world and the final document declared “to achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” as its goal. As a concrete step to reach the goal, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had proposed the conclusion of a convention to ban nuclear weapons. This direction was accepted with consensus. In particular, what should be taken note is that the final document called on all states to make “special effort” to establish the “framework”. All parties to the treaty agreed to do so. As far as they accepted, they should implement their obligation.
Second, the movements of the world worked in unison and public opinion supported our joint effort. It was the first time in history that on February 15 last year more than 250 organizations of the world together appealed for the start of negotiations for a convention banning and eliminating nuclear weapons.
Third, A total of 1600 A-bomb survivors (Hibakusha) and Gensuikyo delegation members took part in the NPT New York action in May last year, bringing nearly 7 million signatures for the abolition of nuclear weapons with them. Through this action, we could play the role and take the initiative that we should fulfill as the movement of the only A-bombed country of the world.
If these forces get together, they surely change the world. In the UN General Assembly last December, a so-called Malaysian resolution, which seeks for the start of negotiations for a convention to ban nuclear weapons, got support from China, India, Pakistan and even North Korea and Iran, in addition to the non-aligned countries.
What obstructs the realization of a nuclear weapon-free world is neither this or that “rogue” states nor “terrorists”. This is because those possessing nuclear arms and are responsible for them have neither made any decisions nor taken actions that they are required to do. Let us urge those haves, in particular, the leaders of USA, Russia and others to embark on the start of negotiations for a convention to ban nuclear weapons.
At the beginning of February, Gensuikyo convened the general assembly of the board of directors, in which this year’s basic action program was decided. We put forward national and international actions, and made clear responsibilities to be fulfilled.
As the movement of a country to have suffered the nuclear calamity, our primary task is to reach out the appeal for a total ban on nuclear weapons, together with making known to people of the world the voice and experience of the Hibakusha.
We don’t think it good to take time to do this work. The Preparatory Committee meeting to the next NPT Review Conference is due to be held in May next year. If we take it into account, we have to urge all governments to make “special effort” immediately, and we have to urge them to reach an agreement to start negotiation for the convention banning nuclear weapons in the UN General Assembly to be convened this autumn.
Dear Japanese friends, in order to obtain this agreement in the autumn, let us make a success of this year’s World Conference against A and H Bombs to be held in August in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Please bring your collected signatures to the Conference. Let us pile up millions of signatures in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Second, I think that the government of the only A-bombed country has a special responsibility to take initiatives to achieve the goal of totally banning nuclear weapons.
The Japanese government has beautified the US nuclear strategy as a “nuclear umbrella”, making the utmost use of “threats” of North Korea and other countries. But what is questioned is neither North Korea nor China. In 1947, Japan already declared to renounce war and make peaceful resolution of international disputes as Constitutional principles. However, the successive governments of Japan have not taken initiatives for this cause, in which real danger lies. The people will not be seized forever with anxiety and propaganda of stirring up “threats”. Peace and security can be achieved only through our initiatives – effort of peace movements.
With signature forms in our hands, let us create firm public opinion to make the Japanese government implement the Three Non-Nuclear Principles and the Constitution.