Let's make an 'unequivocal undertaking' of eliminating nuclear weapons put into practice

Akahata of July 6 carried an interview with Takakusagi Hiroshi, secretary general of the Japan Council against A and H Bombs, on the 2001 World Conference against A and H Bombs, which opens on August 3 in Hiroshima with the International Meeting, followed by the World Conference-Hiroshima (Aug.5- 6) and the World Conference-Nagasaki (Aug. 7-9).

Q: What will be the main features of this year's World Conference?

Takakusagi: This year's conference will be held on the 56th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when the call for eliminating nuclear weapons have spread worldwide. In the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in May 2000, the conference agreed to an "unequivocal undertaking" of eliminating nuclear weapons, with nuclear weapons states included. I want the 2001 world conference to make clear the task of the anti-nuclear movement for peace, on how to urge the undertaking to be carried out.

New participants

Q: Some new representatives are expected, aren't they?

T: We make a point of developing cooperation with countries which are working positively toward eliminating nuclear weapons. Hasmy Adam, Malaysian ambassador to the U.N., a member of the Non-aligned States which have been calling for nuclear weapons elimination at U.N. meetings for many years, will be a new participant.

The two national groups, the New Agenda Coalition and the Non-Aligned Nations, in last year's NPT conference urged nuclear weapons states to eliminate nuclear weapons as an urgent task. Ambassadors to Japan from South Africa, Bangladesh, and Laos will also attend.

Peace movement representatives from such nuclear weapons states, including the U.S., Britain and China, and of the areas victimized by nuclear tests of the U.S. and the former Soviet Union will take part.

Danger of U.S. policy

Q: What will the conference discuss?

T: The U.S. Bush administration is isolated, as is shown by the statement of the U.S. Conference of Mayors demanding the elimination of nuclear weapons. The U.S. Bush administration is trying to revive and strengthen brazen cold-war politics. In the U.S. president's scenario, the U.S. in the international political arena is like a Western cowboy who can punish rogues as much as he likes, even ignoring international law, the U.N. Charter, and the ongoing international treaties. The missile defense program is typical of U.S. arrogance. Contrary to its name of "defense," the system is intended to make U.S. nuclear weapons more powerful and effective. We must criticize the U.S. for planning such a system, and call on a struggle against it to develop worldwide.

Q: How Japan responds to it will be important, won't it?

The true color of Koizumi Cabinet

T: The Koizumi Cabinet is ready to take part in the dangerous U.S. policy. The government has a plan to allow Japan to use the right of collective self-defense and cooperate with the U.S. missile defense program. I want the World Conference to shed light on the reality of the militaristic Koizumi Cabinet, which is going against world current.

At the same time, I want that the World Conference become a forum in which grassroots movements to stop these dangerous moves can freely exchange viewpoints and national governments and nuclear-free local governments participate in discussions.

In Japan, we see the movement developing in a variety of forms, ranging from calling on the Japanese government to take the lead in carrying out the international undertaking for eliminating nuclear weapons, signature campaigns calling for legislating the three non-nuclear principles (not to manufacture, possess or allow nuclear weapons to be brought in), and calling for a ban on the entry of nuclear-capable ships in Japan's ports. The number of local governments which declared themselves to be nuclear-free is now 2,500, accounting for 75 percent. The Peace March is now going on with widespread cooperation by citizens' organizations and local governments.

In the 2001 World Conference, the call that the promise for nuclear weapons elimination be kept will resound worldwide and will bring about a hope for the 21st century. (end)