StatementTowards the 2015 NPT Review Conference:
We Call for Intense Effort to Achieve a Total Ban and Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, in Response to the People’s Desire of the Only A-Bombed Country
Letter to the Government of Japan
Mr. ABE Shinzo, Prime Minister
Mr. KISHIDA Fumio, Foreign Minister
April 8, 2014
Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo)
With the 2015 NPT Review Conference only a year from now, all the governments of the world are required to make serious and sincere efforts to realize the agreement reached in the previous Review Conference to “achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” Given that the same year marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings, the government of Japan bears special and heavy responsibility to make intense effort to achieve a total ban and elimination of nuclear weapons, responding to the desire of its people and the Hibakusha to abolish nuclear weapons in their lifetime.
Recently new developments are seen internationally in the efforts to attain the goal of creating a nuclear weapon-free world. On September 26, 2013, the U.N. High-Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament was held for the first time. It was followed by the General Assembly, where the resolution (68/32) calling for the commencement of negotiations for “the early conclusion of a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons to prohibit their possession, development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer and use or threat of use, and to provide for their destruction” was adopted by a large majority of 137 countries in favor and 28 against.
In the session of the First Committee of the U.N. General Assembly last year, 125 countries, including Japan, endorsed the joint statement on the “Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons” that was originally launched in 2012 at the first Preparatory Committee of the NPT Review Conference. To build up this effort, the international conference was held in Nayarit, Mexico last February, in which the Chair made a call to initiate a diplomatic process for the abolition of nuclear weapons which comprised a specific timeframe, the definition of the most appropriate fora, and a clear and substantive framework.
Despite such world-wide efforts, a substantive process for the abolition of nuclear weapons is not yet started. This is because nuclear weapon states have adhered to their nuclear arsenals on the pretext that they serve as “nuclear deterrence” or “guarantee of security.” As long as these having nuclear arms continue to hold onto their “privilege,” it will be impossible not only to eliminate nuclear weapons but to completely remove the threat of their proliferation.
As you agree, Japan is the only A-bombed country. As the government of Japan whose people have directly suffered the inhumanity of nuclear weapons, you must call on nuclear weapon states to start the substantive process for a total ban on nuclear weapons.
Japan will host the 8th Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) on April 11-12 in Hiroshima, as part of the preparation for the 2015 NPT Review Conference. It announced to make the inhumanity of the use of nuclear weapons the theme of this meeting, which is natural for A-bombed Japan to take up this issue. However, we have serious concern over whether the government intends to make this occasion conducive to a comprehensive ban on nuclear weapons.
In fact, in his lecture at Nagasaki University last January, Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio openly advocated nuclear deterrence, saying that Japan’s disarmament effort should be in harmony with the credible extended deterrence under the Japan-US military alliance. While taking a firm stance to counter nuclear proliferation by proposing “Three Preventions,” he proposed no more than “Three Reductions” for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Worse, regarding the use of nuclear weapons which could cause catastrophic humanitarian consequences to mankind, he took a clear position of condoning it, saying that “consideration should be limited only in extreme circumstances based on the right of individual or collective self-defense.”
On the other hand, the Japanese government supported the Joint Statement on Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons in last year’s session of the U.N. General Assembly and sent an official delegation, including the Hibakusha, to the conference in Nayarit, Mexico.
Denouncing the inhumanity of the use of nuclear weapons would make sense only if it proceeds in the direction of totally banning and eliminating nuclear weapons.
From this point of view, we call on the Japanese government to take a clear stand to achieve a total ban on nuclear weapons and work to create an international consensus for the commencement of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention in the lead up to the NPT Review Conference, including in the forthcoming NPDI Ministerial Meeting and the 3rd NPT PrepCom (April 28 - May 9, New York).
In the last U.N. General Assembly session, nuclear-possessing China, India, Pakistan and North Korea voted in favor of the resolutions calling for a nuclear weapons convention: The “Follow-up to the 2013 High-Level Meeting” resolution and Malaysia’s “Follow-up to the ICJ Advisory Opinion” resolution. We sincerely request the Japanese government to acknowledge this new situation and take the initiative to open up a new prospect for dialogue and cooperation in Asia for the start of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention.