International Bureau Director Ogata Yasuo speaks at International Meeting -- 2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs
Yasuo Ogata, Japanese Communist Party International Bureau director and House of Councilors member, spoke at the International Meeting of the 2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs on August 2. Ogata is also a member of the Committee of Chairpersons of the World Conference. Thetext of the statement is as follows
Respected representatives from overseas and Japan,
In the 59th year of the atomic bombings, how can we characterize the present situation regarding nuclear weapons and the present stage and achievement of the struggle? Struggles in opposition to the Iraq war have been advanced, guided by the common cause of defending the Charter of the United Nations. Now, a new form of movement has developed that combines public opinion and the movement in each country with its respective government. Under these circumstances, the tide for a new world order for peace and against nuclear weapons, including opposing their use, has marked a new stage.
On the other hand, the U. S. government went ahead with its war of aggression against Iraq alleging that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. It strengthened its own position as a nuclear superpower by developing new nuclear weapons according to its preemptive nuclear strike strategy, which assumes the use of nuclear weapons, in defiance of the worldwide demand for peace which opposes nuclear weapons. For overcoming this countercurrent by strengthening the movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons in preparation for next year, the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings as well as the NPT Review Conference, the 2004 World Conference against A and H Bombs is of great importance.
The struggle against the Iraq war gives us important lessons for our future struggle. We can feel the strength of the tide for a new international order without wars and nuclear weapons that is centered on the United Nations.
Some people are now recommending that the Nobel Peace Prize be given collectively to the 30 million people who protested against the Iraq war. Citizens rose against the war together with NGOs and governments. The common cause of these three parties was "Defend the UN Charter and the international order for peace." Even a U. S. government report says that 49 countries supported the war while 142 opposed it. It became clear that the United States, the only superpower of the world, cannot determine the course of world affairs alone, or bring one country, Iraq, to its knees by power alone.
This tide of peace has spread to Northeast Asia, the region where the task of building stable and peaceful relations between countries was most retarded. Now the six-party talks are underway to solve the nuclear problem of North Korea. The solution to the problem may take time with twists and turns down the road, but it is extremely important that the talks have a possibility of developing into a mechanism or an organization for jointly dealing with international relations in Northeast Asia and their stability.
Also, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has further strengthened its presence as a source of peace. The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) is a nonaggression pact. Since last autumn, China, India, Russia, Pakistan and Japan have signed the TAC and South Korea also made clear its intention to join it in the near future. Further, China announced that it was ready to join the protocol to the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone.
In spite of these developments, the U. S. government declares that it will carry out a preemptive nuclear strike even on non-nuclear countries if it deems necessary. In order to carry out this strategy, the Bush administration is developing and upgrading easy-to-use tiny nuclear weapons, preparing for resuming nuclear tests and deploying nuclear weapons overseas, thus discarding the "unequivocal promise to achieve complete elimination of nuclear weapons by nuclear powers" agreed unanimously to at the NPT Review Conference in May 2000, including the Clinton administration at the time.
This spring at the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 NPT Review Conference, John Bolton, U.S. Undersecretary of State, said, "We cannot divert attention from the violations we face by focusing on NPT Article 6 issues that do not exist," thus refusing even to discuss in the session the matter of the provision of Article 6 concerning the promise to sincerely carry out nuclear disarmament.
This is a rejection of the central task strongly demanded by the non-nuclear nations of nuclear nations since the NPT came into force in 1970. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) agreed unanimously in 1996 on the duty of the nuclear nations to "sincerely negotiate disarmament" under NPT Article 6. Mr. Bolton’s statement goes against the ICJ’s decision that this duty is two-fold as it includes a duty to "conclude" such negotiations.
As indicated by the representative of Malaysia, chair nation of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), who emphatically remarked, "All the participant nations of the NPT should pursue the total elimination of nuclear weapons and fulfill the reciprocal duties prescribed in the treaty," it has become increasingly clear that the position of the Bush administration stands in direct conflict with the wish of the peoples and governments of the majority nations of the world, with its isolation deepening.
Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said, "We should aim for our legal regime related to nuclear weapons to emerge into a ‘peremptory norm’ of international law -- a norm that is part of our collective conscience -- not dependent on any particular treaty. In short, as with the ban on slavery or genocide, the renunciation of such weapons should be universal and permanent."
What powerful and confident words! In human history there were times when slavery was officially recognized as indispensable and immutable. But progress in history gave birth to a norm that eliminated slavery as immoral.
In the same way, the issue of elimination of nuclear weapons has emerged as a more universal task, a great task of humankind, after many twists and turns in our struggle seeking the way for people to live more peacefully, more safely and more like human beings.
JCP Central Committee Chair Fuwa visited Tunisia and Executive Committee Chair Shii visited India and Pakistan and discussed world peace including the elimination of nuclear weapons. Last year we were invited as guests to the Summit Conference of Non-Aligned Countries and the Summit Conference of the OIC. I participated in those conferences as the representative of the JCP. Nuclear weapons and world peace were major themes in those conferences. In two weeks from now the Foreign Ministers’ Conference of the Non-Aligned Countries will be held in South Africa. I will participate as a guest in the conference as the JCP representative. There is one thing I strongly feel as I had the privilege to participate both in governmental conferences and non-governmental movements.
I feel that although the countercurrents of adherence to nuclear weapons persist, the main currents that call for elimination of nuclear weapons are growing. Voices against the Iraq war in the United Nations assembly hall joined together with those on the streets and had a great impact. If we strengthen this trend, we can possibly curb the tyrannical behavior of the U.S. government and the prospects of achieving elimination of nuclear weapons will become greater. A new world will be built not by the countries that possess the power to annihilate the whole humankind many times over but through establishing security that paves the way for a peaceful and prosperous human society, through establishing a UN-centered world based on the UN Charter.
The World Conference against A and H Bombs, with its history and traditions, has acquired this power through its long activities. Next year is the 60th anniversary of the nuclear bombings and the once-in-five-years NPT Review Conference will be held. It is essential to achieve a breakthrough for elimination of nuclear weapons by bringing together world voices and movements at such a pivotal moment.
I want to stress the special role and responsibility of Japan, the only A-bomb victim nation. It is shameful that the Japanese government willingly supported the Bush administration and sent the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq. As regards the nuclear weapons issue, it not only supports the nuclear policies of the Bush administration which is under severe criticism from all over the world; but it also makes such moves as its advance guard, in consultation with the U. S. administration, putting pressures on Asian countries to support the U.S. policies. This is a shameful attitude on the part of the government of Japan, the only A-bomb victim nation.
Under these circumstances, the role to be played by the Japanese people and movements is obvious. The JCP is a party with a Program putting forth the task to "strive to prevent nuclear war and eliminate nuclear weapons as a vital task for the survival of humankind," stressing that "to get rid of the threat of nuclear war, the alternative is the abolition of nuclear weapons," and promising to "do all it can to build up international solidarity, establish an international order for peace, and achieve a world without nuclear weapons and military alliances." In the new situation and phase, I faithfully pledge to put forth the task of elimination of nuclear weapons and promote the struggle paving the way toward this goal.
Thank you. (end)
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