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HOME  > Past issues  > 2010 August 4 - 10  > JCP Vice Chair Ogata speaks at International Meeting
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2010 August 4 - 10 [ANTI-N-ARMS]

JCP Vice Chair Ogata speaks at International Meeting

August 3, 2010
Japanese Communist Party Vice Chair Ogata Yasuo on August 2 delivered a speech at the International Meeting of the 2010 World Conference against A & H Bombs in Hiroshima. Following is the full text of his speech:

Since the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference was held in May this year, the situation in regard to nuclear weapons has changed. This can be seen by the fact that some nuclear powers that have adhered to nuclear weapons policies appear to be moving ahead toward supporting the call for “a world without nuclear weapons,” whatever their motives.

The pressure brought to bear on state parties by people working in anti-nuclear weapons movements throughout the world, including those working with the World Conference against A and H Bombs here in Japan, played an important role in bringing about this change. This was evidenced in the speech delivered by U.S. President Barack Obama in Prague last year. This served as a basis of the favorable circumstances in which the NPT conference was held. In fact, the United States wants to hold on to the nuclear non-proliferation system in recognition of the danger of nuclear weapons proliferation as the greatest threat in the 21st century. Their sense of crisis and urgency was made apparent.

The statement by President Obama calling for “a world without nuclear weapons” has gone beyond the words and actions of the U.S. government and managed to reach out and have a significant impact on many governments and international politics as a whole. Progress toward actually achieving “a nuclear-weapon free world" has passed the point of no return. The existing circumstances have been welcomed by many countries, including non-aligned countries, political parties in each country, NGOs and other international bodies, as well as NATO countries and important allies to the United States. This has created a new dimension in international momentum in regard to this question.

The Japanese Communist Party embraced the opportunity. JCP Executive Committee Chairperson Shii Kazuo sent a letter to President Obama immediately after the Prague speech and received a reply from the U.S. government. He attended and observed the 2010 NPT Review Conference. On that occasion, we had talks with U.S. government representatives in Washington regarding possible cooperation leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

The resolution adopted by the UN Security Council held at the level of heads of State and Government in September 2009 resolves “to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons,” and calls on the parties to the NPT to pursue negotiations in good faith on nuclear arms reduction and disarmament, pursuant to the treaty’s Article VI. The G8 summit held in June 2010 stated in its declaration: “We (...) welcome the outcome of the NPT Review Conference, and will pursue the follow-on actions it recommended by consensus. We call upon all states to do the same.”

This declaration added to the importance of the final document of the NPT Review Conference. Because of obstruction by some nuclear-weapon states, the final document had deleted, from the earlier draft, phrases indicating any timebound framework or a timetable for negotiations, and only stipulates creating the “necessary framework” and “special efforts” for achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. But these two key phrases imply the recognition of the need to take steps and provide a vision for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proposed in 2008 to start negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention. Before his visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki this time, he added that the abolition of nuclear weapons must be achieved within a given time frame. This is an extremely important point to keep in mind.

Malaysia, Costa Rica, and other governments jointly proposed a resolution to the UN General Assembly on a nuclear weapons convention, and it has been adopted every year by more than two thirds of UN member countries. We have now reached a time when the nuclear weapons convention is being discussed with a real possibility of being adopted.

The NPT final document sets out 64 concrete actions, including the establishment of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. The relationship between such specific actions and the abolition of nuclear weapons has become apparent. We have called for and are now calling more strongly than ever for a swift commencement of international negotiations for the elimination of nuclear weapons. The target set out in the NPT final document on the total elimination of nuclear weapons will surely give a further impetus to this process.

In closing, I would like to stress the importance of the power of the people united as the NPT Review Conference forcefully demonstrated. Public opinion is represented here by governments, municipalities, NGOs and many other grassroots-based organizations. I would like to express my determination to redouble my efforts working with all of humanity to eliminate nuclear weapons from the face of the earth once and for all. Thank you.

Akahata, August 3, 2010
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