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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 July 29 - August 4  > Anti-nuke international meeting opened in Hiroshima
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2015 July 29 - August 4 TOP3 [PEACE]

Anti-nuke international meeting opened in Hiroshima

August 3, 2014
In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the atomic-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the International Meeting of the 2015 World Conference against A and H Bombs opened in Hiroshima on August 2 with Japanese and foreign delegates, including atomic bomb survivors, participating

Sawada Shoji, representative director of the Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo), addressed the opening plenary session on behalf of the organizing committee.

Sawada stressed, “The NPT Review Conference showed that the demand for the elimination of nuclear weapons has driven nuclear-weapons states into a corner.” He also called on participants to depose the Abe administration as it obstructs the path to the abolition of nuclear weapons and intends to forcibly enact the war bills, contrary to people’s expectations for the government of the only atomic-bombed country.

In the first session of the meeting held under the theme, the damage by atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the struggle of Hibakusha, three Japanese and Korean Hibakushas spoke.

Yamada Sumiko from Hiroshima was at a loss for words to report that her second son’s condition was diagnosed as thrombocytopenia. Komine Hidetaka from Nagasaki spoke about his hardships due to burn injuries and discrimination against him. South Korean Hibakusha Kang Hojung said that neither the Japanese nor the South Korean government provides support to Hibakusha in South Korea.

In the second session on the movement for an international treaty to totally ban nuclear weapons, Japanese Communist Party Vice Chair Ogata Yasuo took part in the discussion.

Following is an excerpt of his speech:

It was unfortunate that the NPT Review Conference (RevCon) held this year failed to agree on the contents of the final document. Still, the discussions at the conference highlighted the complex dynamics in which an overwhelming majority of nations now stand against the nuclear-weapons states which are being forced to clearly reveal their resistance to establishing a world without nuclear weapons.

One of the RevCon First Committee’s memos dated May 8 mentioned for the first time creating a legal framework including a nuclear-weapons-ban treaty within a specified timeframe.

The five nuclear-weapons states jointly made a statement dated April 30 which states, “We continue to believe that an incremental, step-by-step approach is the only practical option for making progress towards nuclear disarmament, while upholding global strategic security and stability.”

It is the “step-by-step approach” mentioned above that the nuclear-weapons states insist on as their final bulwark against the imposition of complete nuclear disarmament as their “nuclear deterrence” theory has been discredited. The U.S. government continues to repeat that argument. Behind the U.S. argument is the U.S. nuclear strategy which states, “The United States would consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners.” The strategy is now focused on modernizing its nuclear arsenal over the long-term.

Equally troubling, the other nuclear-weapons states aligned their stance with the U.S. approach by signing off on the joint statement at the RevCon and tried to discourage support for a legally binding process toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Although the U.S. government advocated an incremental approach at the RevCon, it failed to provide any convincing logic for it. A U.S. representative just argued that “effective measures” were “not limited to ones that are legally binding.” Still, he had to concede, “We can also accept that the final phase in the nuclear disarmament process should be pursued within an agreed legal framework.” He acknowledged the need for the ban and elimination of nuclear weapons by treaty though he said it would be in “the final stage” of the process.

Ambassador Taous Feroukhi of Algeria, Chair of the RevCon, delivered the Draft Final Document on May 22. You can see the outcome from the debates reflected in the inclusion of phrases such as “legal provisions or other arrangements that contribute to and are required for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons” or “the legal provisions could be established through various approaches including a stand-alone instrument or a framework agreement.” As the previous RevCon five years ago used the term “legal framework”, the term “legal provisions” used this time shows substantive progress achieved in the conference which the nuclear-weapons states were not able to block.

Our next challenge is to defeat completely the logic of the ‘step-by-step’ approach which is at present the nuclear-weapons states’ trump card in response to an overwhelming majority of global public opinion supporting the enactment of a legal agreement, including a nuclear weapons convention, which will ensure a world without nuclear weapons.

Successive declarations adopted every year at the World Conference against A and H Bombs have contributed to galvanizing anti-nuclear movements among people and governments around the world and encircling the nuclear-weapons states that have insisted on keeping the weapons. The need is for us to stay on course with perseverance to reach our final destination.
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