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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 July 9 - 15  > Make 2014 anti-nukes World Conference big first step toward nuclear weapons convention
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2014 July 9 - 15 [PEACE]

Make 2014 anti-nukes World Conference big first step toward nuclear weapons convention

July 10, 2014
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

This year’s World Conference against A and H Bombs is scheduled to be held from August 4 to 6 in Hiroshima and on August 8 and 9 in Nagasaki, along with an international meeting in Hiroshima from August 2 to 4.

At present, many countries in the world are making progress in efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons. The focal point of this move is an international treaty banning nuclear weapons. The UN General Assembly last year adopted a resolution seeking a Nuclear Weapons Convention, which has been repeated since 1996. It also approved another resolution calling for a swift start of negotiations on a comprehensive treaty for a total ban and abolition of nuclear weapons with a two-thirds majority vote. The latter resolution was proposed by non-aligned nations.

The non-aligned nations-proposed resolution requires the UN Secretary General to hear UN member states’ opinions on the contents of the treaty and to report about the hearing results to the UN General Assembly to be held this autumn. If this measure is implemented, a convention regarding the ban on nuclear weapons will be placed on the agenda of the general meeting for the first time in UN history. The 2015 NPT Review Conference slated to take place between late April and early May in New York will be an important international session testing each nation’s willingness to work to put an end to the nuclear age.

However, some nuclear weapons states refused to begin negotiations on such a convention. At the root of this attitude lies their nuclear deterrence strategies in which those nations use nuclear threats to pursue their national interests.

With the aim to overcome the resistance by nuclear weapons states, a move criticizing the inhumanity of nuclear weapons and demanding the prohibition on the use and the elimination of those weapons is growing at the government level. In 2012, 16 nations jointly presented to the UN general meeting a statement focusing on the inhumanity of nuclear weapons. The number of countries supporting the statement has been rapidly increasing. In the 2013 UN General Assembly, the statement obtained support from 125 member states. The Japanese government, however, refused to accept the statement on the ground of the supposed need for the U.S. “nuclear umbrella”. Pushed by global criticism against its refusal, Japan unwillingly endorsed the statement. In the third preparatory committee for the 2015 NPT Review Conference (May this year, New York), there appeared a situation where a U.S. delegate, for example, stated, “It is imperative that we make sure that people remember the human impact of nuclear weapons.”

Public opinion and grassroots movements have been bringing about these changes. In Japan, the Japan Council against A & H Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo) has collected 3.83 million signatures (as of July 1) in its international signature collection campaign urging the start of negotiations for an international treaty banning nuclear weapons. Gensuikyo has also organized a photo exhibition of the atomic bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki more than 1,000 times. Many people throughout the world are working on the signature collection campaign and in support of the photo exhibitions. When Gensuikyo delegates met with UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane at the third session of the preparatory committee for the NPT Review Conference, she expressed her hope that a large Gensuikyo delegation will attend the review conference with a huge number of signatures and will be able to exercise its strong influence.
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