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StatementRequest to the Government of Japan
October 22, 2010
Prime Minister Naoto Kan
Foreign Minister Seishi Maehara

The Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) held in May this year in New York agreed on May 28 the Final Document, which upheld to “achieve the peace and security of the world without nuclear weapons” at the opening part of its follow-on actions.  The Final Document also urged the nuclear-weapon states to make effort to “accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals” and requested all States “to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.”

The international community, especially Japan as the only country whose nation has experienced the calamity of nuclear weapons, must make every possible effort to seize this opportunity to put this agreement into real action.

So far, the Japanese government, while talking about the “elimination of nuclear weapons”, has never proposed any concrete actions to this end.  It has even refused to support the proposals for a total ban on nuclear weapons or for a start of international negotiations for this purpose, saying that the condition was “premature.”

Regrettably, such attitude has been maintained even after the change of government in September last year followed by the declaration by the then Prime Minister Hatoyama at the U.N. Security Council Summit that Japan would “take the lead in the pursuit of the elimination of nuclear weapons.”  The representative of the Japanese government to the First Committee of the U.N. General Assembly now in session stated that Japan would develop its resolution, “Renewed determination towards a total elimination of nuclear weapons” into a “United action towards a total elimination of nuclear weapons.”  However, its content is no different from the old one; no real proposal for a total ban on nuclear weapons nor for a start of negotiations to that end.  The “short- and mid-term perspective” as stated by the representative was only a low-spirited target of “a world of decreased nuclear risks.”  It is evidently far from proposing a “framework” for a “world without nuclear weapons.”

The decisive reason why the Japanese government hesitates to take clear measures to ban nuclear weapons, while talking about being the “only country to have suffered the atomic bombing”, is that, glossing over the U.S. nuclear strategy in the name of “nuclear umbrella”, it has incorporated Japan deep into the U.S. nuclear strategy.  However, no matter how loudly Japan may declare to “take the lead in the pursuit of the elimination of nuclear weapons” and urge other states to abandon their nuclear arsenals, it is clear that Japan lacks in persuasiveness as long as it depends on other states’ “nuclear umbrella.”

Japan would be able to “take the lead” in the effort to eliminate nuclear weapons in the international community in the real sense of the word, if only it can break away from the “security” policy dependent on the enormous destructive power of nuclear weapons and maintain consistency in its domestic and diplomatic policies.  

In the hope that Japan, as the country that upholds Article 9 in its Constitution to renounce war and the “Three Non-Nuclear Principles” as its national policy, will achieve international trust, we propose the following:  

1.  Japanese government should take actions to propose and spread the agreement to achieve a total ban on nuclear weapons at all forums of international politics, including at the ongoing First Committee of the 65th U.N. General Assembly Session.  Especially, it should give support and cooperation to the so-called Malaysian resolution, which calls for the start of negotiations leading to the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons.  In support of the 5-point proposal of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Japan should work together with other states, especially for bringing the “negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention” into reality. 

2.  As a proof of seeking the “peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” in a good faith, Japan must withdraw from the U.S. “nuclear umbrella” and strictly observe and put into practice its “Three Non-nuclear Principles.”  It must abandon the “secret nuclear deal” with the U.S. that has served the basis for the “introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan,” and notify the relevant states that Japan will not allow the entry of nuclear weapons into its territories.  Japan should follow the example of the City of Kobe to request all military vessels of the nuclear-weapon states planning to come into Japanese ports to submit a “certificate of non-presence of nuclear weapons on board.”

3.  In view of the U.S. current policy of “neither confirming nor denying” the presence of nuclear weapons on board its vessels, Japan must request the withdrawal of nuclear-capable warships of the U.S. from Japan, including the aircraft carrier George Washington now deployed at Yokosuka Base.