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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 17 - 23  > 2019 World Conference will give momentum to anti-nuke movement in run-up to key events in 2020
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2019 July 17 - 23 TOP3 [PEACE]
editorial 

2019 World Conference will give momentum to anti-nuke movement in run-up to key events in 2020

July 22, 2019
Akahata editorial

The 2019 World Conference against A and H Bombs is only weeks away. The International Meeting of the conference will take place on August 3-5, the Hiroshima Day Rally on August 5-6 in Hiroshima, and the Nagasaki Day Rally on August 7-9 in Nagasaki. This year marks two years since the nuclear weapons ban treaty was adopted in the United Nations. This year’s World Conference needs to live up to public expectations and play a role in presenting a viable prospect to totally eliminate nuclear weapons.

Eve of year 2020 pivotal in anti-nuke movements

In 2020, Japan will mark the 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The average age of A-bomb survivors has exceeded 82. They have long aspired to witness a world free of nuclear weapons, and there is not so much time left for them. The year 2020 is also the deadline for the International Signature Campaign in Support of the Appeal of the Hibakusha for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the largest-scale international talks on nuclear disarmament held once every five years, will also take place in 2020. With these important anniversaries and events scheduled for next year, growing attention is paid to what kind of action plans this year’s World Conference will propose.

The major nuclear powers of the U.S., U.K., France, Russia, and China have no intention to abandon their nuclear arms, claiming that nuclear weapons are essential for their security. These countries issued joint statements opposing the nuclear weapons ban treaty at the UN general assembly’s regular session and at preparatory meetings for the NPT Review Conference. In addition, they intend to retract their own past pledges to pursue the elimination of nuclear arms. Reportedly, some negotiators at nuclear disarmament talks say that next year’s review conference will be contentious.

However, antinuke campaigns have overcome various hardships and have made substantial progress. The driving forces of the campaigns have been public opinion, grass-roots movements, and the collaboration between civil societies and governments.

The UN treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons is also a result of many years of efforts made at home and abroad for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, in a message he sent to the World Conference last year stated that the annual international gathering against nuclear weapons had helped create the foundation for negotiations leading to the formation of the nuclear ban treaty.

The NPT Review Conference in 2005, sabotaged by the U.S. Bush administration which launched the Iraq War, could not reach a conclusion. In the same year, however, with more than 1,000 Japanese participating, an international joint action was held for the first time in NYC where the UN headquarters is. This marked the start of full-fledged cooperation between civil societies and governments worldwide. The Review Conference in 2015 could again not reach a consensus on a final document due to the objections of the U.S and the U.K. On the other hand, atomic bomb survivors’ (Hibakusha) demand for the elimination of nuclear weapons along with the more than seven million antinuke signatures submitted to the United Nations stimulated the world's governments to move forward toward realizing a nuclear weapons convention.

At every crucial moment, global public opinion and antinuke movements played a decisive role. The 2019 World Conference will be of great significance for the further development of international movements.

The 2019 World Conference will have representatives of foreign political parties calling on their governments to sign and ratify the UN treaty. It will feature antinuclear activities in nuclear weapons countries as well as in allied nations along with global efforts to establish a world without nuclear weapons, holding active discussions over how to form a majority to support the UN treaty by means of cooperation among antinuke civil societies, parliamentarians, political parties, and municipalities.

Growth of movements in atomic-bombed nation

Japan under the supposed U.S. nuclear umbrella has been turning its back on the public call for the abolition of nuclear weapons, constituting a major international obstacle. As the only A-bombed nation in the world, the government of Japan must change its stance and support the call for a total elimination of nuclear weapons.

The Japanese Communist Party during the latest Upper House election campaign pledged a Japan which signs and ratifies the treaty. The JCP will be committed to helping to achieve a major success in the 2019 World Conference.

Past related articles:
> This year’s anti-nuke World Conference prelude to year 2020: Gensuikyo secretary general [July 9, 2019]
> Calling for nuclear-free world, 2019 nationwide peace march to Hiroshima and Nagasaki starts [May 8, 2019]

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