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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 October 21 - 27  > Monumental UN treaty banning nuclear weapons finally to come into force
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2020 October 21 - 27 [PEACE]

Monumental UN treaty banning nuclear weapons finally to come into force

October 26, 2020

Akahata editorial

The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has obtained the 50 ratifications needed for entry into force. The treaty will take effect in 90 days, which means that an international convention that illegalizes nuclear weapons for the first time in history will come into force in January 2021. With this historical event, the anti-nuclear weapons movement will enter a new stage.

Civil society influences the world

Along with the five nuclear-weapons states - China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S., the forces clinging to nuclear arms have taken a hostile view of the TPNW and have worked to prevent an increase in the number of signatories and ratifications of the treaty. The five powers have repeatedly released joint statements delivering criticisms such as claiming that the TPNW is unrealistic. Putting aside disagreement on various matters, the U.S., China, and even Russia are opposing the treaty. The U.S. Trump administration, with the 50th ratification approaching, relentlessly strengthened its anti-TPNW campaign by such means as sending to countries which ratified the treaty a letter calling for a retraction of their decision.

Therefore, determination of the date of the treaty’s entry into force is an epoch-making achievement which Hibakusha in Japan together with many governments and civil societies throughout the world working for a world without nuclear weapons have made by overcoming various forms of sabotage and backlash from the major powers. Domination by the largest economies over the world is becoming a thing of the past. Collaboration between civil society and the overwhelming majority of countries is a driving force for creating a peaceful, safe, and better world.

The entry into force of the antinuke UN treaty will give further momentum to the movement for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The more countries ratify the treaty, the more nuclear-armed nations receive political and ethical pressure and are driven into a corner. Tasks assigned under Article 8 of the treaty to a conference of State Parties include considering and, where necessary, taking decisions on further measures for nuclear disarmament. NGOs are admitted to observe the Conference of the Parties. Together with civil society, the world's governments will initiate actual proceedings towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The NPT Review Conference, which was initially scheduled for this year, will be held in 2021. For this Conference, in which nuclear-weapons states will participate, there will be a clear need to accelerate moves to achieve a world without nuclear weapons.

Non-nuclear-weapons states are pushing nuclear-weapons states to sincerely engage in negotiations on nuclear disarmament and the total elimination of nuclear weapons as stipulated in Article 6 of the NPT. Have-nots are also pressing haves to fulfill their commitment to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons which they themselves agreed upon in the 2000 NPT Review Conference. These countries have been voicing their opposition to the treaty banning nuclear weapons, but this does not mean that they will be allowed to free themselves of their responsibility. To increase public awareness of this point is becoming important ahead of the 2021 NPT Review Conference.

The attitude of countries depending on the nuclear umbrella is called into question. Despite being the only atomic-bombed nation in the world, Japan has turned its back on the treaty, causing great disappointment and criticism both at home and abroad.

Establish a government that will ratify N-ban treaty

Almost 500 local governments in Japan have adopted a resolution calling on the central government to take part in the treaty. Opinion polls show that 70% of the general public hope that Japan will be a signatory to the treaty. The Suga government should, in response to domestic and international calls, sign and ratify the treaty without delay.

It is urgently necessary to increase nationwide movements to make Japan a country living up to its position as the only nation to have ever suffered the devastation of atomic bombings. The Japanese Communist Party in solidarity with as many people as possible will continue to make efforts to further develop cooperation between concerned citizens and opposition parties in order to establish a government participating in the treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.

Past related articles:
> Rally calling for Japan to participate UN N-ban treaty takes place [September 26, 2020]
> On 1st anniversary of anti-nuke UN treaty, let us work harder for nuclear weapons-free world [July 6, 2018]
> Hibakusha gather to celebrate the nuclear weapons ban treaty [July 9, 2017]
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