For success of 2002 World Conference against A and H Bombs -- Akahata editorial, July 28

The 2002 World Conference against A and H Bombs will be held in early August, including 6th and 9th , the days of the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This year's World Conference is attracting attention especially for its main theme, ̉Let us develop international solidarity and cooperation," by "Working Together for a Peaceful and Promising World Without Nuclear Weapons."

U.S. nuclear policy isolated further

At the turn of this new century, the movement for nuclear weapons abolition has seen a remarkable advance internationally in terms of both public opinion and the range of campaigns. However, the U.S. Bush administration moved against this, causing a serious obstacle to the cause of the elimination of nuclear weapons.

In its nuclear posture review released last January, the U.S. government referred to the possible launching of preemptive strikes against seven named opponents. The review also required the U.S. to develop new types of nuclear weapons capable of destroying underground targets. This stance shocked the peoples of the world.

A critical view of this U.S. policy appeared in one of the major U.S. newspapers saying that it is the U.S. that must be labeled a rogue state armed with nuclear weapons, and even some U.S. allies raised concern with this by calling it a backlash of unilateralism. Here we see an unprecedented growth of severe criticism of the U.S. nuclear policy.

The United Nations General Assembly has repeatedly endorsed the ban on first strikes with nuclear weapons. Also, the U.S. government itself has declared an assertion to this effect. Therefore, U.S. hegemonist policy under the new NPR that gives the U.S. privilege to use nuclear weapons can never be accepted internationally. Such an argument is rather deepening the isolation of the U.S. internationally.

It is extraordinary for Japan's Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro to express his understanding of Bush's new policy of escalating the possible use of nuclear weapons as "one of U.S. options." Koizumi, a follower of a U.S. policy that runs counter to the world current toward nuclear weapons abolition, is quite powerless in the international community. This required all the more for people to work for the total ban on nuclear weapons so that the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will never be repeated in this new century.

The world of the 21st century is not the same as the world in the old days when only a handful of big powers could manage and control everything in the world. Deeply linked with the efforts to implement discipline in the U.N. Charter for defending peace and order, the self-determination of nations, equal sovereignty, and peaceful settlements of disputes, the movements for the complete withdrawal of nuclear weapons are creating new conditions to win its final goal.

In this regard, we must work so that cooperation between governments, anti-nuclear weapons movements, and nongovernmental organizations across the world make further headway.

Recently, remarkable progress has been made for exchanging relations between NGOs, including the Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo), the governments of non-aligned states, and "New Agenda Coalition" states. This sharply accelerated the efforts for awakening world public opinion to achieve the total ban on nuclear weapons, while gaining a political foothold in international politics.

Representatives of the governments of Malaysia and Egypt will attend this year's world conference. Thus, the 2002 World Conference is attracting world attention as a new opportunity to make a gigantic move toward the cause of nuclear weapons abolition required in the 21st century, and as a place to merge efforts of global mass movements with diplomatic efforts.

Let's make new advances at the world conference

During the past half century, the tenacious movement against nuclear weapons, which started in Japan with the calls for the prevention of nuclear wars, the elimination of nuclear weapons, and the support for solidarity with nuclear survivors, has developed to be a world current with a foothold in the international arena.

The world is looking for the success of the 2002 World Conference as a chance to make a major leap forward toward creating a nuclear-free 21st century. (end)