2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs marks common struggle for nuclear weapons abolition -- Akahata editorial, July 21, 2004
Hiroshima and Nagasaki will soon mark the 59th anniversary of the bombings of the cities.
Japan's Koizumi Cabinet represents the only A-bombed nation, but as a subservient ally of the United States it continues to turn its back on moves calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons, thus deepening its isolation in the world.
The Japanese government maintains that U.S. nuclear weapons are indispensable for Japan's defense. In the U.N. General Assembly, Japan keeps abstaining from voting on U.N. resolutions calling for an early conclusion of a treaty on the abolition of nuclear weapons on the grounds that resolutions without U.S. support are "unrealistic" and "hamper the progress of nuclear disarmament." The Japanese government's attitude is in stark contrast with the majority of the world's governments voting in favor of nuclear weapons abolition.
Japan's other side
However, Japan has another perspective that demands international attention.
As a movement of the A-bombed country, the Movement against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs has taken a lead in the world's anti-nuclear movement. The "Appeal from Hiroshima and Nagasaki" signature-collecting campaign, which started to mark the 40th anniversary of the A-bombings in Japan, spread throughout the world, and more than 60 million signatures in Japan and more than one hundred millions signatures in more than 160 countries have been collected. Hibakusha (A-bomb survivors) in their effort to make their bitter experience known to the world have been playing an invaluable role in enhancing the anti-nuclear weapons movements throughout the world.
These anti-nuclear movements in Japan and abroad find expression in the annual World Conference against A and H Bombs held commemorating "Hiroshima and Nagasaki Days ", August 6 and 9.
With the 2005 Nulear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in New York approaching, antagonism is deepening between the U.S. Bush administration and most of the governments and people of the world wishing for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Even after the failure of the occupation of Iraq, the U.S. Bush administration refuses to give up its zeal for world domination through military strength and the brandishing of nuclear weapons. This dangerous strategy finds its expression in preemptive nuclear attack plans, development of small nuclear weapons and of new types of nuclear weapons that can strike underground targets. Non-Aligned Nations and New Agenda Coalition member countries are very critical of these plans and are calling for progress to be made in eliminating nuclear weapons within a set time frame.
In the 2000 NPT Review Conference, all nuclear weapons states promised an "unequivocal undertaking" to eliminate their nuclear arsenals. Now the call is increasing for this promise to be fulfilled.
In the "Let's abolish nuclear weapons now! No more Hiroshimas and Nagasakis" signature campaign in preparation for the 60th anniversary of the atom-bombings, people from more than 50 countries signed the petition at the United Nations headquarters. In Japan, about 600 local government heads and local assembly chairs have expressed support for it. In the United States, a "million people march" is set for May 1 in New York.
Anti-nuclear organizations and government heads together
The World Conference in recent years has been joined by not only anti-nuclear peace organizations from abroad but foreign government representatives as well, and has developed various exchanges. This year, government representatives of Malaysia (Non-Aligned Conference chair), Mexico, and Egypt from the New Agenda Coalition, along with representatives of other foreign embassies in Tokyo will attend.
Anti-nuclear peace movement participants will converge from around the world, Asia, Oceania, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. In this, we see a new advance of international cooperation in anti-nuclear movements for peace.
The 2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs is significant for advancing this new move. Inside Japan, let us concentrate on people's wishes for peace so that they will help to bring success to the World Conference. (end)
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