For great strides towards nuclear weapons abolition -- Akahata editorial, August 10
The 2003 World Conference against A & H Bombs (Aug. 3-9), which was held amid increasing international opposition to the U.S. -led Iraq war and occupation, has provided a new momentum for a great movement to achieve a world without nuclear weapons and war.
U.S. dangerous and isolated
Clearly reflecting the new anti-war atmosphere created during the greatest ever global actions that took place against the U.S.-led Iraq war, the 2003 World Conference was attended by the broadest ever sectors of people.
The World Conference was attended by about 10,000 people representing peace and democratic organizations in Japan and abroad and grassroots movements, along with government representatives of Egypt, Sweden, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Vietnam. It received messages from six non-aligned and New Agenda countries, as well as a former U.N. undersecretary for disarmament affairs.
Among international participants were families of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and activists from Asia who are opposed to the adverse effects of globalization. All this contributed to making the 2003 World Conference a place to develop broad joint international action for a peaceful world without nuclear weapons.
During the discussion, many delegates criticized the U.S.-led Iraq war carried out in disregard of the United Nations and denounced the dangerous U.S. nuclear weapons policy. During the Iraq war, the United States kept the option to use nuclear weapons open, thus posing the realistic danger of a nuclear war. This is why the Declaration of the International Meeting stressed: "The threat of another Hiroshima and another Nagasaki is emanating from this outrage of U.S. hegemonism."
On the other hand, many delegates pointed out that the recent struggle increased the opposite current condemning such an outrage. A representative from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) pointed out that whilst the United States "appears to be at the peak of its global dominance in fact it is losing hegemony". The Declaration of the International Meeting referred to the growth of the movement that does not tolerate the U.S. outrage, saying, "Never before has the United States been so isolated as it is now in the midst of the storm of criticism that is raging against it throughout the world."
In the face of the dangerous development of the U.S. nuclear policy, the 2003 World Conference particularly stressed the importance of taking up the elimination of nuclear weapons as an urgent and main task that cannot be deferred for any reason. It called for the year 2005, the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to be made a milestone in the movement for the speedy abolition of nuclear weapons by dramatically increasing the popular movement throughout the world as well as its solidarity and common action with governments striving for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
The Declaration of the International Meeting also stated. "For world peace and in order to remove the danger of nuclear war, it is essential to establish an international rule for peace, and to prevent the destruction of world peace based on the U.N. Charter."
It is also important to note that the World Conference attracted more young people than ever from throughout the country. With suntanned faces and bright eyes, they spoke about their actions in protest against the Iraq war and about their participation in peace marches. Their message of peace was full of confidence.
The World Conference thus turned out to be a forum calling for anti-nuclear international common action combining the historic upsurge of the peace movement that grew out of the opposition to the Iraq war and the movement to achieve a world without nuclear weapons.
The prime minister's speech at the memorial ceremonies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were in stark contrast with the two mayors' peace declarations, which expressed deep concerns about the dangerous situation over nuclear weapons. Hiroshima Mayor Akiba Tadatoshi stated that the chief cause of this concern is U.S. nuclear policy. Nagasaki Mayor Ito Iccho criticized the United States for its willingness to use nuclear weapons. The earnest call the two mayors of the two atom-bombed cities made for the immediate abolition of nuclear weapons was in response to the wishes of the world.
The prime minister was deceptive when he used his speech to the audience that included many hibakusha (atomic-bomb survivors) to say that Japan is abiding by the peace Constitution and maintains the Three Non-nuclear Principles (not to possess, manufacture, or allow nuclear weapons to be brought into Japan), deliberately keeping silent about the government's unconstitutional plan to send the Self-Defense Forces troops to Iraq. He virtually proposed to shelve the task of nuclear weapons abolition, alleging that the need now is to make an effort to promote "nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation." No wonder he was booed.
With the successful World Conference as a springboard for our movement, let us begin anew the great action, including the new signature campaign the World Conference proposed in order to make the year 2005 a milestone for the movement: "Abolish nuclear weapons now! Let there be no more Hiroshimas and no more Nagasakis." (end)
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