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Gensuikyo urges Obama to fulfill his campaign promise of elimination of nuclear weapons

The Japan Council against A & H Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo) Secretary General Taka Hiroshi on January 22 published the following comment on the inauguration of the U.S. Obama administration:

On January 20, Barack Obama took the office as the 44th president of the United States. The inauguration was held with two million people converging on the National Mall in Washington in the dead of winter amid growing international attention. This shows that there are growing expectations in the United States and the rest of the world for the new administration of President Obama not only because he is the first African-American to become the president of the United States but because he criticized the Bush administration's unilateralism and called for "change" in his victorious election campaign. We will press President Obama's administration to implement in earnest the positive policies he promised during the election campaign.

Regarding the issue of nuclear weapons, President Obama during his election campaign made clear that the United States, "will pursue the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world."

At the NPT Review Conference in May 2000, five nuclear weapons states agreed to carry out the "unequivocal undertaking" to eliminate their nuclear arsenals. The Bush administration virtually reneged on this promise by abandoning this promise and used the "non-proliferation" regime to pursue its military supremacy, thus causing confusion and alarm throughout the world. An overwhelming majority of the world's people and governments are demanding a world free of nuclear weapons.

We urge the Obama administration to implement the campaign promise to take concrete action to abolish nuclear weapons toward the next NPT Review Conference scheduled for April-May 2010. We also will do all we can to heighten public calls at home and internationally for the abolition of nuclear weapons in cooperation with all governments that favor this goal.

How Japan-U.S. relations will develop under the Obama administration is also an important question. During the eight years of the Bush administration, the Japanese government was behind the U.S. Bush administration invading Iraq in defiance of international opposition and carrying out military operations in Afghanistan. Japan has been allowing the U.S. forces to use Japan as a stepping-stone for military actions abroad and to carry forward the U.S. military realignment in Japan.

In addition, at the time when North Korea conducted its nuclear tests, then-Foreign Minister Aso Taro made a remark that encouraged the nation to activate a debate over whether Japan should become a nuclear weapons state.

The Japanese government should make a critical review of its policy that has given priority to Japan's military alliance with the United States. As the government of the only atomic-bombed country, and as a country with the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution and the Three-Non Nuclear Principles, the Japanese government should work hard to achieve a nuclear weapons-free world and establish more peaceful and just international relations.

- Akahata, January 24, 2009

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