2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs opens

Marking the 59th anniversary of the bombings of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the 2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs started on August 2 with the International Meeting in Hiroshima under the main theme: "Abolish nuclear weapons now! No more Hiroshimas or Nagasakis."

On August 4, the International Meeting adopted a declaration that summarized the discussions and resolve to get nuclear weapons abolished without delay. (For the text of the declartion, see page 4.)

About 260 peace activists, including 62 representatives from foreign non-governmental organizations attended the session alongside government representatives from four countries.

Messages from heads of state or government of Bangladesh, Laos, New Zealand, Sweden, and Vietnam were introduced.

In view of next year, the 2005 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, this year's International Meeting is devoted to unifying and increasing international efforts by an overwhelming majority of states and peoples of the world calling for the immediate elimination of nuclear weapons through implementation of the agreement reached at the 2000 NPT Review Conference.

Speaking on behalf of the Organizing Committee, Sawada Shoji, atomic bomb survivor and Nagoya University professor emeritus, stressed that the task now is to drastically increase the movement in preparation for the 2005 NPT review conference in order to get the nuclear weapons states to implement the promise they made in 2000 to eliminate their nuclear arsenals. Referring to Japan's Self-Defense Forces' participation in the multinational force in Iraq and the U.S. forces in Japan being strengthened, he said, "It is very important to combine the movement to defend the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution and the movement for the abolition of nuclear weapons."

Konishi Satoru, Japan Confederation of A and H Bombs Sufferers Organizations (Hidankyo) deputy director general, in his speech criticized the U.S. policy to use nuclear weapons as "committing the worst ever crime with an evil arsenal."

Denouncing the Japanese government's all-out support for the U.S. nuclear strategy, he emphasized that the moves to get Japan nuclear armed are in conjunction with the call for constitutional revision.

At the day's first session, Hussein Haniff, Ambassador of Malaysia to Austria/Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations in Geneva, emphasized the urgent need to "start negotiations for the complete abolishment of nuclear weapons within a set time."

Luis Alfonso de Alba, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations in Geneva, stated that overcoming terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons can only be ensured by completely eliminating nuclear weapons.

Christopher G. Weeramantory, former vice president of the International Court of Justice, stressed that our efforts for nuclear non-proliferation should also be directed toward controlling nuclear development by nuclear possessing countries.

Ogata Yasuo, Japanese Communist Party International Department director and House of Councilors member, made a speech. (see separate item)

Takakusagi Hiroshi, Japan Council against A & H Bombs (Gensuikyo) secretary general, stressed Japan's key role in the global campaign for a nuclear-free world.

(Details of discussions will be reported in the next issue of Japan Press Weekly.) (end)

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