2015 World Conference against A and H Bombs
International Peace Bureau
friends of peace
me begin by conveying to you the warmest of greetings from the IPB: from Reiner
Braun and Ingeborg Breines, our two Co-Presidents, our staff, Board and
Council, and in a wider sense, all our 300 member organisations and individual
members around the world. It is a great personal pleasure to be among you once
all else I wish to express our deep appreciation to the members of Nihon
Hidankyo and all the other hibakusha who have devoted their adult lives to the
struggle to make sure that the tragedies experienced here and in Nagasaki
should never, and nowhere, happen again. And of course to all of you who make
up this wonderful World Conference.
our lifetimes it has always been a dangerous period: whether we think of the
terrible destruction of WW2, of the Cold War period with its apocalyptic
terrors, or the period since 1990 in which public attention has been distracted
from the menace of nuclear destruction. And there are new dangers now, both in
East Asia and in East Europe, or indeed in the Middle East or in South Asia –
all areas where the nuclear sword of Damocles hangs over us.
does not permit me to talk in detail about Ukraine. Suffice to say that the
responsibility for once again bringing us to the brink of an all-out
confrontation belongs with all 3 main external parties: Russia, the US, and the
EU. The difficulty for peace movements
is that we do not agree on what portion of the blame lies with each of the 3.
This makes it hard to mobilise popular opinion, which is at the same time
struggling to focus on so many other issues and other conflicts. Yet we cannot
turn our faces away. In part we are involved because of our own history, as
activists who played our part in bringing an end to the Cold War confrontation
and giving birth to what followed, even if in many ways it was not what we
struggled for. We wanted social justice, for some the vision was socialism
itself. We wanted a new equality among states, a generalised form of mutual
respect. What we have got is neo liberal societies and the domination of
western forces, giving rise to a new wave of authoritarianism and even war.
us set it in a global view: the US and its allies face (for the first time
since 1941) essentially 3 adversaries. This time it is not Germany, Italy and
Japan, but China, Russia and militant Islam. This alone would be sufficient to
put the Pentagon a full war footing. Yet while there are preparations for war
and many actual strikes with drones and other weapons, we are not in a full war
situation. That could be because of Obama’s relatively dovish posture (or
indeed confusion); or war weariness after Iraq and Afghanistan; or lack of
economic resources on all sides; or fear of a new Cold War; or China’s policy
of what I call ‘non-aggressive militarism’ – there are many explanations.
these are not reasons for complacency – quite the reverse. There are serious
dangers in the current situation and the new Japanese militarism of Prime
Minister Abe – bolstered by the US and mirrored by China - represents one of
them. For that reason the IPB expresses its solidarity with the Japanese peace
movement in its efforts to reverse the legislation planned by Abe and its
determination to stand by Article 9 and the values its embodies.
2004 that IPB’s main focus has been on military spending, militarism in
general, and the impact of armament on sustainable development. We have acted
as the initiator and coordinator of the Global Day of Action on Military
Spending, which has now been run 5 times, starting in 2011. This has now been
broadened into a year-round Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMS). In
order to give greater power to this Campaign we are currently preparing a major
world congress on the subject, to be held in Berlin from Sept 30 to Oct 3 next
year. The Japanese perspective is an important one and we are hopeful not only
of a strong participation at the conference, but also the organisation of one
or more ‘Prepcomms’ in this country in order to engage a wider participation in
the importance of considering the geo-political dimension in whatever we focus
on. I am convinced that among the most powerful driving forces in tomorrow’s
conflicts will be the issues of access to natural resources. We must urge our
governments to resolve these tensions – which are probably inevitable – though
international law and by cooperation among states and peoples. The alternative
is too terrible to consider.
we must think carefully about the link between nuclear and conventional war.
Fear of an adversary’s conventional forces tends to reinforce the temptation to
go nuclear, or to use nuclear forces. Thus the effort to reduce everyone’s military
commitment is work that helps us avoid nuclear war too.
In this place and with this audience I scarcely need to stress the urgency of
moves towards global nuclear abolition. And yet our politicians don’t hear it,
don’t get it, don’t remember it. We have to speak louder, both heart to heart,
and still more convincingly, reason to reason.
future depends on being successful.
Domo arigato gozaimas.