StatementBoard Meeting Sets out 3 Fields of Action:
Abolition, Overcoming Nuclear Deterrence and Support for Hibakusha
Japan Council against A & H Bombs (Gensuikyo) held its 292nd Meeting of the National Standing Board in Tokyo On September 20-21.
In the meeting, the board members discussed mainly about the achievements and lessons from New York Action in May and the World Conference against A & H Bombs in August. They adopted the Action Plan calling for further promotion of public opinion and movements for the abolition of nuclear weapons and a nuclear weapon-free Japan based on the conviction gained from those accomplishments. The following is the detail.
Ⅰ. Achievements and Lessons from the 2010 World Conference against A & H Bombs
1) World Conference articulated next steps to take
The 2010 World Conference provided a forum for intensive discussion for international efforts to jointly identify the “next steps” for reaching the elimination of nuclear weapons, based on the progress and result achieved by the NPT Review Conference in May. In his message to the World Conference, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon highly appreciated the role of the peace movement, saying, “Your efforts have contributed to a wave of support for global nuclear disarmament.” In his lecture given at the Hiroshima International Convention Hall on August 6, he welcomed the “2020 Vision” proposed by the Mayors for Peace and said, “Let us pledge to join together on the 75th anniversary of the bombing – with the hibakusha – to celebrate the end of nuclear weapons.” Around at the same time when Mr. Ban Ki-moon spoke, U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Sergio Duarte joined our Closing Plenary of the World Conference and delivered a speech with a title, “Democracy, Disarmament and the Rule of Law.” By stating, “We must encourage states with nuclear weapons to commence negotiations to eliminate such weapons by law, as the Secretary-General proposed in 2008. I believe that we must also encourage them to declare their intention to achieve this within an agreed period of time”, Mr. Duarte made it clear that it is the idea of the U.N. to abolish nuclear weapons by setting a timetable and concluding a treaty to this end. He further said, “If 2020 is somehow ‘premature’, then this only begs the question: when should the world expect for nuclear disarmament to be achieved?” and he invited us to “cross this great bridge together” to achieve a nuclear weapon-free world.
The NPT Review Conference in May, while agreeing on achieving “peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons”, no progress was made in setting the timetable and roadmap toward that goal. Challenging such difficulties, the representatives of the U.N., governments and other leaders working in the front-line of this field called on the delegates of the international and Japanese peace movement to jointly move forward by envisaging further development of the joint effort to overcome all stumbling blocks. As the movement of the only A-bombed country, Gensuikyo must respond to their call, working in the forefront of the campaigns.
2) On nuclear deterrence doctrine
The 2010 World Conference held intense discussion and made deep analysis on the “nuclear deterrence” doctrine, which poses the greatest stumbling block to creating a “nuclear weapon-free world.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his speech in Hiroshima, “Disarmament, they say, is a dream … In fact, these terms more accurately apply to the alternative … : an endless reliance on nuclear deterrence, a constant arms race, unbridled military spending and a waste of taxpayer dollars. We must call these for what they are: illusions -- delusions of security”. Following up his statement, U.N. High Representative Duarte warned that those who worry about the possible risks of disarmament should take seriously the “actual risks of failing to disarm” nuclear weapons.
During the World Conference, there was also an up-front discussion: Responding one delegate who suggested that there might be a special condition for a country to rely on the “nuclear umbrella”, now that it faced the threat of North Korea’s development of missiles or nuclear weapons, another delegate pointed out that in order to get out of the vicious cycle, it was all the more important to find a way to break away from the “nuclear deterrence”, beyond the difference of political positions. This debate, held between the delegates of ROK, was highly suggestive both in offering reasoned criticism to and trying to find common ground with those who are affected by “nuclear deterrence” theory in various ways and who worry about leaving the “nuclear deterrence” behind.
The damage and aftereffects of the atomic bombing as told by the Hibakusha representatives during World Conference offered the most powerful counterargument to the nuclear deterrence doctrine, based on the cause of securing the survival of humankind. The significance for the movement against A & H Bombs originating from the A-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the World Conference to support Hibakusha’s activities and disseminate and inherit the A-bomb damage was made clearer through the World Conference.
Ⅱ. Post-NPT Review Situation and Our Future Actions
Even after the closing of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, the current for nuclear abolition continues to gain strength.
In this year’s Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, ambassadors from 74 countries, the largest number ever, including the U.S., took part. There, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called to abolish nuclear weapons in the lifetime of the Hibakusha and express his strong support to the “2020 Vision” proposing to abolish nuclear weapons by 2020.
Mayor Akiba Tadatoshi of Hiroshima City, in his Peace Declaration of August 6 expressed his strong determination to push for the elimination of nuclear weapons based on the Appeal adopted by the “Hiroshima Conference for the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons by 2020”, and urged the Japanese government to legislate into law the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, abandon the U.S. nuclear umbrella and to implement assistance measures for all the Hibakusha. Also, Mayor Taue Tomihisa of Nagasaki, in his Nagasaki Peace Declaration, strongly supported the Nuclear Weapons Convention. Regarding the “secret nuclear pact”, stating that “We harbor profound distrust of the government’s past responses”, he urged the Japanese government to enact the “Three Non-Nuclear Principles” into law as the first thing it should do.
Targeting the next NPT Review Conference in 2015, the moves toward the elimination of nuclear weapons is gaining speed, through the forthcoming high-level meeting of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and the Middle East Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone conference to be held in 2012. These moves are presenting new conditions for Gensuikyo to play its part in the field of grass-roots movements world-wide, in cooperation with the U.N., national governments of many countries, the Mayors for Peace led by Hiroshima and Nagasaki Cities and others.
This also presents another challenge of intensifying our movement to make the Japanese government play a leading role as the government of the A-bombed nation in promoting this process.
On August 6, after taking part in the Peace Memorial Ceremony, Prime Minister Kan drew sharp criticisms both domestically and internationally by stating, “nuclear deterrence continues to be necessary for Japan.” In line with Kan’s emphasis on “deepening Japan-U.S. alliance”, the “Council on Security and Defense Capabilities in the New Era”, Prime Minister’s advisory body, issued a report on reviewing the National Defense Program Guidelines. Referring to the possible review of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, which became the focus of criticism, the report said, “for the time being, the situation is not ripe enough for revision.” But it maintained its support to the exercise of the right of collective self-defense and the review on the three principles on the restriction on arms export. Also over bringing of nuclear weapons into Japan’s territory, it also held its basic position of claiming that Japan should not stay hands of the U.S.
In the Declaration of the International Meeting of the 2010 World Conference, stating “Japan’s dependence on the U.S. ‘nuclear umbrella’ is a serious obstacle to peace and security in Asia and for achieving a ‘nuclear weapon-free world’”, the anti-nuclear peace movement of the world expressed strong solidarity to the movement in Japan in its effort to make Japan nuclear weapon-free by defending Article 9 of the Constitution and by strict implementation of the “Three Non-Nuclear Principles”.
As a response from the Japanese peace movement, we must build an overwhelming public opinion to urge Japan to leave from under the U.S. “nuclear umbrella” and strictly observe the Three Non-Nuclear Principles by enacting them.
1. Strengthening Public Opinion for Banning and Eliminating Nuclear Weapons: Continuation of the Current Petition and Launching of a New Signature Campaign
1) Reporting back on the 2010 World Conference and promotion of the signature campaign
We will actively hold report meetings and activities on the outcome of the 2010 World Conference in local communities and continue to develop the signature campaign on the Appeal “For a Nuclear Weapon-Free World”.
Based on the “Letter from Nagasaki to All Governments of the World” adopted by the 2010 World Conference, we will urge national governments to promptly start negotiations to conclude a treaty totally banning and eliminating nuclear weapons.
2) Activities timed for the 2010 U.N. Disarmament Week
Starting on the 6th and 9th Days actions of October, through to the end of the 2010 U.N. Disarmament Week (October 24 - 30), we will conduct nationwide signature campaign on the Appeal ”For a Nuclear Weapon-Free World”.
On October 21 (Thurs) and 22 (Fri), a national day of action will be held in Tokyo, which will include presentation of signatures and petition to the Japanese government, visits to foreign embassies and a symposium/forum.
3) On a new signature campaign calling for a total ban and abolition of nuclear weapons
Based on our achievements confirmed by the 2010 NPT Review Conference and the 2010 World Conference against A & H Bombs, we will examine the launching of a new signature campaign to call for a total ban and abolition of nuclear weapons.
Now that the majority of governments of the world, along with the U.N. Secretary-General, are voicing their support for a time-bound elimination of nuclear weapons, and 4,144 mayors of local governments of the world joining the Mayors for Peace are calling for a nuclear weapons convention to take effect before 2020, Gensuikyo is required of playing a new role both in Japan and internationally as the movement of the A-bombed country that has long advocated for a total ban on nuclear weapons, to mobilize the public opinion and movement at the grass-roots level, in solidarity with such world-wide current.
As the common action in this campaign, we will examine the launching of a new signature campaign. While carrying forward the current movement to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons, this new signature campaign will aim to rally the overwhelming support of the people, as a campaign to open a door to a “world without nuclear weapons.”
In cooperation and solidarity with the movements carried out by the peoples of diverse fields aiming at abolition of nuclear weapons, including the “2020 Vision” campaign by the Mayors for Peace, and also learning from the positive lessons from our current campaigns, including that of Miyakonojo City, we will strive to conduct joint campaigns in all cities and towns, involving their citizens and local authorities.
For launching the new campaign, we will set up a task force to discuss and draft the text of the Appeal and outlines of the campaign.
2. Urging the Japanese Government to Propose a Treaty to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, to Break Away from the “Nuclear Umbrella” and Implement and Enact the Three Non-Nuclear Principles
1) Breaking away from the “nuclear umbrella” and a “Declaration of a nuclear weapon-free Japan”
We will urge the Japanese government to initiate a proposal for establishing a treaty for a total ban and elimination of nuclear weapons and achieve consensus at the U.N. General Assembly. As long as Japan relies on the U.S. “nuclear umbrella”, the pledge by the Japanese government to “take a leading role in achieving the elimination of nuclear weapons” cannot command any trust from the international community.
We urge the Japanese government to declare the renunciation of the “nuclear umbrella”, notify all the countries of Japan’s Three Non-Nuclear Principles, including its refusal to nuclear weapons to be brought into Japan’s territory, and request other countries to respect these principles.
We urge the Japanese government to declare before the U.N. General Assembly a “Declaration of a nuclear weapon-free Japan”, entailing the promotion of nuclear weapons abolition and observance of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles”, and continue to seek for support from local governments and assemblies.
2) Abandonment of the “secret nuclear deal”, strict implementation and enactment of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles and refusal to nuclear-capable warships and their port-calls
Japan should notify the U.S. its abandonment of the “secret nuclear deal” and request for its compliance with the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. Learning from the experience of Kobe, Japan should request all the nuclear weapon possessing states to submit certificates on non-presence of nuclear weapons on board their vessels before their entry into Japanese ports. We demand the withdrawal of the deployment of nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington from Yokosuka.
We call on all the local assemblies and governments having seaports to adopt the “nuclear-free Kobe formula.” In consultation with the Japan Peace Committee, Action Committee for Abrogation of Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and other organizations, we will pursue our work on creating a national network of monitoring and resistance activities over port-calls by U.S. military vessels, especially at civil ports.
3) Overcoming “nuclear deterrence” doctrine
National-level discussion forums and study meetings should be planned with such themes as “Japan’s role in a nuclear weapon-free world” and “Overcoming nuclear deterrence doctrine”. To this end, we will discuss the possibility of rallying a group of experts and researchers, including those outside Japan, who can lecture and speak on these topics.
4) Unconditional removal of Futenma Base; Solidarity with movements opposing foreign military bases
We support the struggle of the people of Okinawa calling for an unconditional withdrawal of Futenma Base. We oppose the reinforcement of U.S. bases in Japan and stand against the deployment of the missile defense system by the U.S. military and Japan’s Self Defense Forces.