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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 December 22 - 2022 January 4  > Let us swim against adverse tide to realize abolition of nuclear weapons
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2021 December 22 - 2022 January 4 TOP3 [PEACE]

Let us swim against adverse tide to realize abolition of nuclear weapons

January 3, 2022

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Nearly one year has passed since the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) came into force on January 22, 2021. At the UN General Assembly last year, many remarks in support of the entry into force of the TPNW were made and a resolution calling for an increase in the number of nations participating in the treaty was adopted with support from 128 countries. The number of TPNW ratifiers has increased and a tide toward achieving a world without nuclear weapons is growing. On the other hand, nuclear powers have pushed forward with the enhancement of their nuclear capability and have taken a hostile stance toward the TPNW. The need is to make 2022 a year of reversing such an adverse tide and moving toward the abolition of nuclear weapons, the ardent wish of the human race.

Nuclear-capable nations sticking to the nuclear deterrent theory have repeatedly delivered criticism against the TPNW. The five nuclear weapons states (NWS) - the U.S., the U.K., France, Russia, and China - at the last UN General Assembly issued a joint statement opposing the treaty although they are divided on various specifics.

U.S. President Biden inherited his predecessor’s nuclear arms development project with the aim of maintaining the U.S. nuclear capability and improving its quality. Russia’s Putin administration, as a measure to counter the NATO, expressed its intent to review its policy regarding the first use of nuclear weapons.

Among the five NWS, China is the only nation which has increased the number of its nuclear warhead stockpiles and is developing a new type of ballistic missile. Britain has raised its cap on nuclear warhead stockpiles and France has emphasized the need for nuclear deterrence as a means of self-defense. In addition, as evidenced in North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons and conflicts between India and Pakistan, the world is facing risks of the use of nuclear weapons.

For that very reason, the 10th Review Conference (RevCon) of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) scheduled to be held this year will be of major significance. Article 6 of the NPT obliges all its members to achieve complete nuclear disarmament. The 2000 RevCon unanimously adopted the final document confirming the engagement of all the nuclear-weapon states in the process leading to the total elimination of their nuclear weapons. The document also affirmed the unequivocal undertaking of the nuclear-weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. The 2010 RevCon unanimously adopted its final document affirming that all member states need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons. The need is for nuclear haves to reaffirm and fulfill these agreements.

The Kishida government at the last UN General Assembly, in consideration of the positions of the U.S. and other nuclear weapons states, submitted a draft resolution that undermines the past NPT RevCon resolutions, eliciting fierce criticism from non-nuclear weapons states. As the first meeting of the parties to the TPNW will be held in March, it is necessary to strengthen dramatically public movements that will push back against the adverse stream internationally and press the Japanese government to play a role in working to abolish nuclear weapons.

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