2003 World Conference against A & H Bombs -- Akahata editorial, July 21

Starting with a three-day international meeting, the 2003 World Conference against A & H Bombs will be held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki from August 3 to August 9.

This year's World Conference will take place in a new situation in which a wide range of peace forces in an overwhelming majority of countries bravely stood firm against blatant U.S. hegemony in the Iraq War.

U.S. hegemony isolates itself

The Iraq War was an unlawful preemptive attack by the United States based on the Bush administration's policy of aggressive unilateralism. The war killed many people and destroyed the rules for peace enshrined in the U.N. Charter. Large-scale movements against the war developed throughout the world and drove the United States into a corner in the arena of international politics.

Furthermore, suspicions persist that faked evidence may have been used to claim that Iraq had programs to develop weapons of mass destruction, which the United States used as a pretext to go to war. This clearly shows that the Iraq War was launched without any reasonable basis.

The Iraq War also revealed the U.S. Bush administration's dangerous new nuclear policy. Maintaining its huge nuclear stockpile, the United States allows itself to launch preemptive attacks with the use of nuclear weapons in mind if the U.S. judges that other countries are using or developing weapons of mass destruction. The Iraq War was an example of this. Senior U.S. officials repeatedly stated that they would not exclude the use of nuclear weapons as an alternative. They also intend to develop new type of nuclear weapons.

However, it will only deepen contradictions in the world if the United States puts its nuclear strategy that includes possible nuclear strikes into effect on the pretext of preventing other countries from possessing nuclear weapons.

In the 2000 Non-nuclear Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, amid mounting criticism of the hegemonic use of nuclear weapons as a means to dominate the world, all participating countries, including nuclear states, agreed to an "unequivocal commitment to eliminate nuclear arsenals."

This current is becoming larger along with the criticism of attempts to "solve" the problem of weapons of mass destruction by means of preemptive attacks and calls for nuclear weapons to be abolished without delay. Under these circumstances, the World Conference is expected to unite actions seeking for a nuclear-free world with those for building an international order for peace.

Anti-nuclear movement and cooperation with foreign governments

The World Conference in recent years has advanced cooperation with governments acting in favor of the elimination of nuclear weapons. Last year, delegates from Malaysia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and South Africa participated in the World Conference, and eight heads of state or government, including Sweden, sent messages. Those were significant steps that marked a new development in international cooperation for peace and anti-nuclear movements.

This year's World Conference will also be attended by representatives of foreign governments as well as many overseas delegates of anti-nuclear and peace movements. In Japan, creative events are under preparation, including a plan to have numerous young people who have struggled against the Iraq war and the contingency legislation to get together for discussions.

In marked contrast with the world's peace campaigns, the Koizumi Cabinet is blatant in going against the anti-nuclear current, an act that is transparently submissive to the U.S. administration. Now that the great cause of support for the Iraq war has collapsed, the cabinet is shamelessly trying to dispatch the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq in order to help the U.S. forces continue to occupy the country. The danger is increasing that Japan will again be used as a stepping-stone for U.S. preemptive attacks and nuclear strategy.

As the sole atom-bombed nation with its war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution, we cannot allow these policies to continue any longer.

Let us make the World Conference an opportunity to strengthen our movement for a Japan that will contribute to world peace, and try to assist various peace campaigns to firmly take root and further develop in every locality, workplace, and campus throughout the country. (end)

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