StatementWe call on all UN member states to act for the start of negotiations on a nuclear weapon convention
On the occasion of presenting the petition in support of the “Appeal for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons,"
On the occasion of the Opening of the deliberation of the First Committee of the 66th UN General Assembly, we wish you very fruitful discussion and its outcome in promoting the UN’s founding objective, the elimination of nuclear weapons, disarmament and peace.
Our organization, the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo), was founded on September 19, 1955 against the backdrop of mounting public demand for a ban on atomic and hydrogen bombs, triggered by the H-bomb test conducted by the United States on March 1, 1954 at the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, the Pacific. Since then, we have been continuing our work to reach our three basic goals of 1) preventing nuclear war, 2) a ban on and elimination of nuclear weapons and 3) the relief of the Hibakusha, the A-bomb sufferers, by organizing the World Conference against A and H Bombs every year since its first one in 1955, disseminating stories of the Hibakusha and thus making known the damage and aftereffects of the A-bomb, organizing peace marches and signature campaigns at grassroots, and using many forms of actions.
The purpose of the visit of our delegation to the UN, this time, is submit to the UN General Assembly the signatures in support of the “Appeal for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons”, which we launched on February 15, 2011 in Japan and in cooperation with many other peace groups around the world, and thus convey to the UN member states governments the deep desire of the Japanese people for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
We herewith submit the 1,029,031 signatures collected by September 30, 2011 in the form of this letter with the picture depicting them, and with some signatures, which we are asked to submit by mayors and other prominent persons. Among those who signed are 766 mayors, 97 assistant mayors, 557 chairpersons and 42 vice-chair persons of municipal councils and 131 chairpersons of local education boards. The number of the mayors who signed, alone, represents 44 percent of the 1,746 Japanese municipalities. This petition was collected in regions, workshops or streets in both cold winter and hot summer, including in areas afflicted by the huge earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
With the passing of 66 years since Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed with nuclear weapons, we are facing an important opportunity to set the world free of nuclear weapons. In May last year, on the eve of the NPT Review Conference, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said to us, representatives of international peace movements assembled in Yew York, that the world without nuclear weapons was now “on the horizon", and encouraged us to continue our action.
The NPT Conference agreed on achieving “the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” as "principle" and “objective". It further agreed on the action plans that the nuclear weapons states would “accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals”, that all states would “make special efforts to establish a necessary framework” for it, and that the Conference noted the five point proposal of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, including the negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention.
We also noted the voting results of the nuclear disarmament-related resolutions by the UNGA session in last December. Above all, the resolution put forward by Malaysia and 38 other countries, calling for a start of multilateral negotiations leading to an early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention drew support from 133 countries, including China, one of the five nuclear weapons states, and India and Pakistan, which both developed their nuclear arsenals, staying outside NPT, and even North Korea.
Combined with the fact that of 189 parties to NPT, as many as 184 countries are placing themselves under the obligation of Article 2 of the treaty, i.e., of not developing or acquiring nuclear weapons on themselves, the above vote result clearly shows that if only a handful of nuclear weapons states make a decision, the start of the negotiations of a treaty totally banning nuclear weapons is possible even now.
Unfortunately, even now, two years after “a world without nuclear weapons” was promised by the special session of the UN Security Council in 2009, the path to a total ban on nuclear weapons is still blocked by such arguments and doctrines as “nuclear deterrence” or “extended deterrence”. However, if nuclear powers and their allies remain asserting that nuclear weapons are a guarantee for security, a nuclear weapon-free world will never be realized, nor is the danger of further proliferation of nuclear weapons be overcome.
We call on all governments that are committed to a world without nuclear weapons to work to overcome the wrong "nuclear deterrence” assumption, and take concrete steps to start the process of totally banning nuclear weapons.
We support all efforts to fulfill past agreements, including further cut in nuclear arsenals of the US and Russia, early entry into force of CTBT, the start of negotiations and early conclusion of FMCT, diminishing the role of nuclear weapons in the security policy, and the convening an international conference on a Middle East zone free of the weapons of mass destruction in 2012. We also want to emphasize that the effort to build consensus on the need to totally ban nuclear weapons is important even to promote each specific measure we listed above.
On March 11 this year, a huge earthquake and tsunami, and then nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant hit the eastern half of Japan. As the movement that has worked for “No More Hibakusha”, we cannot allow any further damage wrought to the humans by nuclear radiation. We are renewing our determination to strengthen our solidarity action for the switch on energy resources away with nuclear energy to sustainable energy. As Fukushima tragically shows, when a severe accident occurs, the human race does not know to contain the radiation within any given area, nor has any means by which to drastically clean up environment. We therefore sincerely wish that on this issue, the international community will endeavor to build a consensus to move towards safe and secure, sustainable energy resources.