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Promising signs for abolition of nuclear weapons

Akahata interviewed Taka Hiroshi, secretary-general of the Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo), who returned from New York after attending the 3rd Preparatory Committee meeting (May 4-15 in New York) for the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference as an observer as well as attending various NGO meetings.

Following is his remarks:

My first impression of the meetings I attended was that, unlike the past meetings of this kind, participants were upbeat. The biggest factor is, of course, U.S. President Obama's call for "a world without nuclear weapons," which marked a sea change in U.S. policy.

On the third day, we got news that agreement had been reached on agenda items for the next NPT Review Conference, and that the 16th item says that it will "consider based on decisions and resolutions made in the 1995 RevCon as well as the final document of the 2000 RevCon." This is obviously different from the previous agenda in 2005 in which the then U.S. Bush administration even refused to touch on the "2000 final document" that talked of "an unequivocal undertaking" to eliminate nuclear arsenals.

Though the preparatory committee meeting stopped short of reaching an agreement on a "recommendation" to the next Review Conference, its draft in the final stretch shows a positive direction toward "an establishment of an international, legal framework to achieve global nuclear disarmament", which is conducive to an international treaty.

Together with delegates from the Japan Confederation of A and H Bombs Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo), I met with U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Sergio Duarte and other representatives to the Preparatory Committee meeting to make a proposal or request for three things.

We requested that (1) this year's U.N. General Assembly agree to place the issue of abolishing nuclear weapons as top priority; (2) the theory of "nuclear deterrence" or "nuclear umbrella" should be overcome; and (3) A-bomb photo exhibitions should be held and the voices of A-bomb victims (Hibakusha) be heard.

At a meeting of the "Abolition 2000", an anti-nuclear international network, Japan Gensuikyo proposed events to be held during the next year's NPT Review Conference, in addition to various efforts toward the UNGA that opens in autumn. We proposed holding a big "Day of International Action for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons" demonstration on May 2 in New York, the day before the opening of the 2010 Review Conference. We also called on international NGOs to jointly submit signatures in support of the call for the abolition of nuclear weapons on May 3 or 4. These proposals were unanimously supported.

I feel confident in the fact that the trend towards "a world without nuclear weapons" is increasing and that now is the time to bring our long-standing efforts to fruition. - Akahata, May 21-22, 2009

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