Nuclear-weapons abolition comes up as common task of UNGA

In the 57th United Nations General Assembly, held in New York now, the challenge to abolish nuclear weapons appears as a continued world trend. Akahata of November 16 carried a report by Takakusagi Hiroshi, general secretary of the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo), who was in New York from November 17 to 24 to request the world's governments to move forward to get rid of the weapons of mass destruction.

The Gensuikyo delegation visited the missions of Canada, Ireland, Japan, the Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United States, and also exchanged opinions with a U.S. anti-nuclear weapons organization. His report is as follows:

In the U.N. General Assembly, the Iraq question was one of the major issues. I had a gut feeling that opposition to military actions and calls for a U.N.-led peaceful solution represent majority international opinion. The resolution adopted by the U.N. Security Council shows clearly that things are not going as the U.S. planned because the new resolution has removed an automatic trigger of military action the U.S. wanted to use to attack Iraq.

Unanimous U.N. vote for anti-nuclear weapons resolutions

A UNGA committee unanimously adopted a resolution submitted by
the New Agenda Coalition*, calling for the strict implementation of the agreement on "unequivocal commitment to eliminate nuclear arsenals" with 118 in favor and 7 against. The committee also adopted the Malaysian resolution calling for the earliest possible start of negotiations for nuclear weapons abolition by 106 to 30. These two resolutions were sent to the U.N. General Assembly for final approval.

A resolution calling for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty to swiftly come into effect was approved by 125 votes in favor. The United States was the only country that voted against.

Considering these resolutions, it is noteworthy that a mood to block the U.S. dangerous nuclear policy is increasing among governments. Especially, a U.S. policy hinting at the possible use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states met with strong opposition, and the New Agenda Coalition-sponsored resolution called on the United States to stick to the international pledge that nuclear weapons possessing countries shall not use those weapons against non-nuclear states.

* The New Agenda Coalition is a group of seven countries (Ireland, Egypt, Sweden, New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa, and Mexico) calling for nuclear weapons to be abolished.

When we visited U.N. member states' missions in New York, not only new agenda countries but also NATO member Canada stated their concerns about the U.S. policy of the possible use of nuclear weapons. Canadian officials told us that right after the new U.S. nuclear policy was revealed, Canada's prime minister requested the U.S. president to keep the promise that the United States will not make nuclear attacks on non-nuclear countries.

At the UNGA, Canada voted for the New Agenda resolution apparently to show its uneasiness about the U.S. strategy, although the United States, Britain, and France voted against and the other NATO member countries abstained from voting.

Japanese government gives up its responsibility

A Japanese resolution stated, "steps towards abolishing nuclear weapons." It stopped short of demanding that nuclear weapon states "reduce" or "eliminate" their nuclear arsenals; it instead called for "nonproliferation" as before. Furthermore, the resolution did not mention the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states, although that was a major issue this year at the United Nations.

On the other hand, Japan's government kept abstaining from voting on the New Agenda resolution.

Japanese government negotiators repeated that as long as Japan counts on U.S. nuclear deterrence for its security, it cannot go against the U.S. vote. This attitude shows that Japan has given up its responsibility as an A-bombed country.

More efforts needed to strengthen signature drive calling for abolition of nuclear weapons

In Japan and internationally, Japan Gensuikyo is carrying out a signature collection campaign calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. It opposes preemptive attacks and the use of nuclear weapons, which are in violation of the U.N. Charter and humanitarian law. What's happening in the U.N. represents what the world demands.

In order to prevent the use of nuclear weapons and make the 21st Century peaceful without the existence of nuclear weapons, we will further increase our struggles at the grassroots level in conjunction with the increasing voices against U.S. unilateral preemptive attacks. (end)