Anti-nuclear signature campaign gains worldwide support

International efforts to collect signatures in support of the "Abolition Nuclear Weapons Now!" appeal are gaining momentum in response to the call of the Japan Council against A & H Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo) in preparation for the NPT Review Conference scheduled for May.

Anti-nuclear movement leaders and government representatives of non-aligned and New Agenda Coalition countries have signed the petition.

In India, peace activists who participated in the 2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki translated the petition into their local languages and collected about 10,000 signatures. The Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) decided to carry out this signature campaign at its National Coordination Committee meeting in late February. Founded in 1998 in the national movement against the Indian nuclear bomb test, the CNDP is the largest anti-nuclear organization in India.

The elimination of nuclear weapons was a major issue at the national anti-war assembly organized by the CNDP late last year. Japan Gensuikyo Standing Director Asato Rieko stressed the need for anti-nuclear and social movements to join forces to increase public awareness of the need for nuclear weapons abolition. She called for efforts to create an equitable and peaceful world and to bring many anti-nuclear signatures to the NPT Review Conference.

The assembly confirmed its support for the "Abolition Nuclear Weapons Now!" signature campaign as part of activities to mark the 60th anniversary of atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and action in New York on May 1 in line with the NPT Review Conference.

The British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) last fall decided to increase activities calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons on the 60th A-bomb anniversary. Japan Gensuikyo Secretary General Takakusagi Hiroshi gave a commemorative speech at the CND conference. CND representative Kate Hudson expressed hope to work together with Japan Gensuikyo to increase public awareness of the destructive power of nuclear weapons and the increasing danger of such weapons being used.

At the World Social Forum held in Brazil in January, Jacqueline Cabasso, U.S. coordinator for the Abolition 2000, carried out the "Abolition Nuclear Weapons Now!" campaign with Gensuikyo representatives.

At the World Social Forum 2005, Japanese peace organizations, including Japan Gensuikyo, held a workshop on the abolition of nuclear weapons. Tsuchida Yayoi, Japan Gensuikyo National Executive Board member, spoke about how the anti-nuclear weapons movement is developing in Japan, the only actual atom-bombed country. She also called for making the 60th anniversary of the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki an occasion to make a fresh start towards abolishing nuclear weapons.

A "Call to Action of the Anti-War Assembly" adopted during the World Social Forum included proposals for supporting global actions on May 1st, the day before the NPT Conference, to demand the abolition of nuclear weapons and on the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with a call for global actions on August 6-9 to say "No more Hiroshimas! No more Nagasakis!" Someone said, "For anti-war forces, it will be a shame not to act to abolish nuclear weapons in the year of the 60th anniversary of the A-bombings." Starting with discussions on economic issues, the World Social Forum united with struggles against the Iraq War, and now it has built international solidarity with the anti-nuclear weapons movement.

Also, in the Executive Committee meeting of the World Peace Council held in Cyprus in early March, the major subject of discussion was how to develop activities devoted to the abolition of nuclear weapons in the year of the 60th anniversary of the A-bombings.

Thanassis Pafilis, World Peace Council secretary general, proposed to promote a signature-collecting campaign titled, "Abolition Nuclear Weapons, Now!" and called for the success of the World Conference against A and H Bombs scheduled for summer 2005 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A Mexican representative passionately said, "Recalling that the World Peace Council took a lead in collecting 500 million people's signatures throughout the world in the Stockholm Appeal campaign, it is time for us to do something that surpasses our past successes. The key for this will be collecting signatures."

U.S. mayors, too

An American representative in charge of preparing a parade and a rally in New York during the NPT Review Conference reported that some mayors in the United States issued an appeal calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons, and that conditions to mobilize a wide range of people are now emerging. Delegates from Austria and Portugal said that they are supporting an appeal by the Peace Mayors Council to gain support from municipal heads of their countries.

Websites of the "Abolition 2000" and the CND establish a link to an English site for the "Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, Now!"

These moves show that the struggle for nuclear abolition is now stronger than ever. (end)

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