Beacons showing the way to a nuclear-free world -- Akahata editorial, February 25

"Malaysia considers them (non-governmental organizations) as indispensable partners in a common cause. they are truly the conscience of humanity who act as beacons showing us the way to a world eventually free of all weapons of mass destruction."

This is what Hasmy Agam, Malaysian ambassador to the United Nations, stated last year at the United Nations.

Strengthening power for overcoming adverse current

The Movement against A and H Bombs has been playing an important role in building cooperative relationship with national governments that are striving to get nuclear weapons abolished. The task now is for the movement to face up to the growing adverse currents, and in particular to make a success of the Bikini Day (March 1) events to mark the tragedy caused by a U.S. hydrogen bomb test explosion, the origin of the present movement.

The U.S. Bush administration recently compiled a Nuclear Posture Review, the first in eight years. The report puts emphasis on the importance of maintaining attack capability by combining nuclear and non-nuclear weapons. It also insists on the need to develop small usable nuclear weapons and resume test explosions for these purposes. This marks a very dangerous change to make the use of nuclear weapons a more realistic option than before. In fact, the United States carried out many subcritical nuclear tests, and is even trying to make the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty a dead letter.

The lame excuse the Bush administration makes for such a dangerous new policy is that it is necessary to combat terrorism. But the United States is overtly threatening to use its powerful military forces, including nuclear weapons, against those countries which it labels as part of an "axis of evil" suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction. Obviously, this policy lacks any justification and only makes the world more unstable and dangerous.

Everyone can easily recognize that this will only lead the United States to international isolation, as is clear from the eruption of criticism from many national governments, including even those that supported the retaliatory war.

However strong the U.S. military and economy may be, it cannot suppress the voices of the reasoned majority as shown by the recent developments concerning nuclear weapons.

Efforts by national governments, including those of nonaligned countries, and by people of many countries have become powerful enough to exert influence on international politics. One such example is the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in 2000, in which the United States was obliged to agree to the "total elimination of their nuclear arsenals."

Even in last year's United Nations General Assembly in which the United States made a bluff, telling other U.N. member states to choose between "terrorists or the United States," the call for nuclear weapons to be abolished without delay was widespread. Among the resolutions adopted by an overwhelming majority vote was a Malaysian resolution calling for talks for eliminating nuclear weapons to be started.

In sharp contrast to the strengthened earnest efforts at the governmental level to get nuclear weapons abolished, the Koizumi Cabinet is increasing its submission to the United States.

In the recent Japan-U.S. summit talks, Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro supported the U.S. plan to expand the ongoing war. He is now intent on contingency legislation. In the United Nations, Japan continues to try to put the task of nuclear weapons abolition on the back burner. It abstained from voting on any resolution calling for the speedy elimination of nuclear weapons to be achieved.

Japan's anti-nuclear peace movements have international responsibility to make the actual position of the Koizumi politics known to the people, and help increase the popular call that the government of A-bombed Japan with its war-renouncing Constitution (Article 9) live up to the role expected of it.

Link grassroots to global cause

It has been announced that the 2002 World Conference against A and H Bombs in August will focus on the theme, "For a peaceful and hopeful world free from nuclear weapons, Let's develop international solidarity and common action." It is necessary for the movement against A and H bombs to tackle the task with a fresh resolve to build a greater solidarity among national and local governments and NGOs, irrespective of social systems, and differences in thought, beliefs, or nationality, by solidly supporting grassroots movements. (end)