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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 February 4 - 10  > Gensuikyo determines to strengthen signature-collection campaign in advance of NPT Review Conference
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2015 February 4 - 10 [PEACE]

Gensuikyo determines to strengthen signature-collection campaign in advance of NPT Review Conference

February 10, 2015
The Japan Council against A & H Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo) on February 7 and 8 held its board meeting in Tokyo and adopted an appeal calling for a boost in its signature campaign for the abolition of nuclear weapons with an eye towards helping achieve a successful outcome following the NPT Review Conference.

The 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference is scheduled to be held between April 27 and May 22 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. During this period, peace activists will assemble from across the globe to participate in rallies and parades. Gensuikyo plans to submit the signatures collected in Japan to the UN.

The appeal stresses that people’s voices and movements have been preventing the use of nuclear weapons since the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 years ago. With the Review Conference approaching, now is the time to display the power of grassroots movements influencing the international community, the appeal states.

The appeal also points out that A-bomb survivors’ demands have contributed to establishing a major global movement working for peace and the elimination of nuclear weapons and have led to a situation where not only the UN but also an overwhelming majority of nations are condemning the inhumanity of nuclear weapons and seeking a total ban on those weapons. The appeal states that Japan, as the only A-bombed nation, has to play a leading role in the global movement to put an end to nuclear weapon states’ reliance on the strategy of nuclear deterrence to justify their nuclear arsenals.

In the appeal, Gensuikyo calls on its members to gather signatures at various anti-nuke events, such as the annual Bikini Day rally, and pile up the gathered signatures in front of the UN office building at the end of April.

In the board meeting, local Gensuikyo delegates expressed their determination to further strengthen the movement.

A delegate from Hokkaido reported that the number of signatures collected in the prefecture has reached 225,000 and that Governor Takahashi Harumi and 159 municipal leaders in Hokkaido signed the signature petition calling for a world without nuclear weapons.

Another delegate from Fukushima said that 12 local Gensuikyo members will visit New York in order to convey Fukushima residents’ demand to shut down all nuclear power plants and eliminate nuclear weapons to people from all over the world.

*****

Following is the full text of the appeal:

Let Us Carry through Signature Campaign Target to Make 2015 NPT NY Action Successful and to Turn 70th Anniversary of Atomic Bombing into a Milestone for Total Ban and Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

The 87th National Board Meeting
Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo)

Seventy years have passed since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The average age of the Hibakusha is coming close to 80.

“Humans cannot coexist with nuclear weapons.” Let us inherit this message of the Hibakusha and exert our utmost effort to achieve a “world without nuclear weapons.” In particular, we reiterate our call to develop further the signature campaign for the “Appeal for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons”, which calls for the start of negotiations on a convention banning and eliminating nuclear weapons. The number of signatures collected so far has exceeded 5 million, including those of 60% of the heads of local municipalities.

About 1,000 representatives of Japanese anti-nuclear movement, including 40 Hibakusha, will travel to the U.N. headquarters in New York to submit these signatures to the 9th NPT Review Conference (April 27 - May 22). During the remaining two months, we must enhance our movement to achieve our goal by all means.

Call for achieving a nuclear weapon-free world has become a mainstream opinion of the world. The United Nations has adopted resolutions urging the start of negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons with overwhelming majority support. The governments of 155 countries issued the joint statement criticizing the inhumanity of nuclear weapons and calling for banning and eliminating them. But nuclear-armed states continue to claim that their weapons serve as “deterrence” or “guarantee of national security” and refuse to start negotiations leading to the achievement of a nuclear weapon-free world. We need to overcome this obstacle.

As the only country to have suffered the atomic bombing and to have Article 9 in its constitution, Japan should stand in the forefront of the international struggle to abolish nuclear weapons. We must stop the outrage of Abe Government to make Japan a “war-waging country,” by overwhelming it with people’s voices seeking peace and abolition of nuclear weapons. The most effective way for this is to rally their voices in the form of petition and demonstrate them before the Japanese government and internationally, namely, by collecting petitions and piling them up in heaps.

It is the power of public opinion that has prevented the use of nuclear weapons for 70 years since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The anti-A and H-Bomb signature campaign triggered by the damage of Bikini hydrogen bomb test in 1954 and the subsequent holding of the World Conference against A and H Bombs since 1955 have contributed to staying hand of the U.S. to use nuclear weapons. The 7 million petitions for a total ban and the elimination of nuclear weapons, submitted to the 2010 NPT Review Conference, were recognized in the opening session of the Review Conference by the Chair and were displayed at the U.N. General Assembly building. Now many governments have stressed the important roles for movements and civil society to play in achieving a world without nuclear weapons.

Now is the time to manifest the power of public opinion and movements, which have been the driving force of changing the world. Let us work hand in hand with the people wishing for a nuclear weapon-free world and overwhelmingly develop the signature drive at workplaces, in communities and on school campuses. Let us achieve great success in all of our activities, including the forthcoming March 1 Bikini Day events, and pile up heaps of petitions in front of the United Nations building coming April.

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