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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 August 7 - 13  > Koike talks with representative of Austrian government
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2019 August 7 - 13 [JCP]

Koike talks with representative of Austrian government

August 10, 2019

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira, who took part in the 2019 World Conference against A and H Bombs, on August 9 in Nagasaki City met with Austrian government representative to the world conference George-Wilhelm Gallhofer, Minister and Head of Unit for Nuclear Weapons, IAEA, CTBTO and NPT of the Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs.

Koike appreciated Austria’s hard work to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons, including efforts for the realization of the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty. Koike asked Gallhofer what his impression of Japan’s anti-nuke movements was after his first attendance at the world conference.

In response, Gallhofer said that he was impressed to see that Japan’s movements in which Hibakusha are playing the leading role are so lively and energetic. He added that he was delighted to find that so many young people are actively engaged in the antinuke movements as shown in their remarks at the 2019 world conference.

Koike noted that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo in his speech at the Nagasaki peace memorial ceremony did not mention the nuclear weapons ban treaty although Japan should take the lead in having the UN treaty take effect. Koike claimed that the Japanese government asserts that the treaty is ineffective because it is not endorsed by nuclear weapons states. However, Koike stressed, opposition to the treaty by the U.S. indicates its fear of the influence and impact of the treaty on the world.

Gallhofer said that until the adoption of the UN treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, the discussion on nuclear weapons in the context of international security had been dominated by nuclear weapons states, but the situation has changed and now non-nuclear weapons states play an active role in the discussions. Referring to the importance of the legal ban on nuclear weapons as stated the UN antinuke treaty, the Austrian diplomat pointed out that if the government of a nation refuses to join the treaty, it would face public opposition at home. Gallhofer said that in collaboration with NGOs worldwide, the Austrian government plans to hold a ceremony to promote the signing and ratifying of the nuclear weapons ban treaty in September when the UN General Assembly will take place.

Gallhofer also told Koike that the Austrian constitution bans nuclear weapons and nuclear power generation and explained how this was achieved.
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