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Challenging G8: International Symposium for a Peaceful and Just World | July 5, 2008, Sapporo

Toward a Nuclear Weapon-free World: Responsibility of the Nuclear Weapons States and Japan's Role

Hiroshi TAKA
Secretary General, Japan Council against A and H Bombs

Thank you for the opportunity to speak. I want to thank also our friends in Hokkaido for the excellent preparation of this symposium.

When we heard the news of the G8 Summit to take place at Toyako, we thought that we should urge the Japanese government to move as the only A-bomb country for the abolition of nuclear weapons. We discussed it at our annual conference in February. Our friends in Hokkaido put the idea into action. They visited local governments, the total number being 180, and asked for their support of the call on the Japanese government and through it on the G8 to move for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. The support collected is from 101 mayors, 12 assistant mayors, 58 chairpersons of municipal assemblies and many other leaders.

Their action has been responded to by many other throughout the country. As far as in local communities of Shikoku and Kyushu, many mayors appended their support and local assemblies adopted resolutions in support of our call. I want to inform you, taking advantage of this opportunity, that leaders of IPPNW and IPB, the two Nobel Peace Prize Lauri ates, and a renown Christian peace organization PAX Christi, have also formulated their demand to G8, in solidarity with our initiative.

Responsibility of the Nuclear Powers to Rid the World of Nuclear Weapons

It seems self-evident that the major tasks facing the human race at present include the elimination of nuclear weapons, peace, preservation of the global environment, a well as the overcoming of neoliberalist economy, by which wealth is kept transferred from the poor to the rich, and from the week to the strong. Regarding the issue of nuclear weapons, the humans once did set out a solution in the closing year of the 20th century, when the Nuclear Five accepted the gtotal elimination of their nuclear arsenalsh as their gunequivocal undertakingh at the NPT Review Conference in May 2000.

President Bush, however, put forward an obstacle, claiming that he found a gnew threath. That was the gdanger of terrorismh combined with the gdanger of proliferation of WMDh. Now we have all the outcomes. There has been no nuclear weapons or chemical or biological weapons in Iraq. Nor has there been any evidence that suggests a link between the then Iraqi leaders and terrorists. Regarding Iran, on which tension still remains high in terms of its nuclear development, the Bush administration itself had to admit in a statement of the advisor to the president that it had no ground to say that Iran was developing nuclear weapons at least since 2003. The recent nuclear reporting by North Korea reciprocated by the U S's removal of North Korea from the terrorist list also evidenced that the diplomacy is the only way to resolve the problem.

Nevertheless, the US administration has chosen to demonstrate its strength by resorting to its force. The consequences are grave: the deaths of the civilians in Iraq are almost 100,000; the number of those counted as gexcessive deathsh is estimated at as many as 1,300,000; those who take refuge both beyond and within the borders are 4,700,000. Young people in the US and its allies who were sent to battle fields on LIEs are also victims: the US military deaths have exceeded 4,000, and the military wounded 30,000. Every fourth of those who have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan now suffers from either depression or PTSD. And, still there is no way-out. Even in January 20, 2009, when Bush's tenure is expired, the US will still have 140,000 troops in Iraq, caught in hopeless and never-ending quagmire.

Some weeks ago, SIPRI announced that the world's military expenditures for 2007 reached some $1 trillion 339 billion. The environmental destruction by wars and military expansion caused on this huge amount of resources should also be focused as a serious problem. Some 45% is used by the US alone, and Japan, the country whose Constitution declares that it renounces all war potentials, ranks the 5th in its spending.

As regards what Joseph Gerson calls the ggame of nuclear chickenh, the nuclear bargain between the US and the North Korea, there must have been no nuclear testing in October 2006, if they had sincerely sought a peaceful resolution from the beginning, without resorting to bluff and intimidations.

I am not saying that the danger of nuclear proliferation does not exist. However, of the 190 NPT member states, as many as 184 states are placing themselves as gno nuclear weapons statesh under the treaty obligation of not developing and not acquiring nuclear weapons . Besides, North Korea has agreed that it would renounce its nuclear option. Though there are still three other nuclear powers of Israel, India and Pakistan outside NPT, the abolition of nuclear weapons is possible even right now here, if Nuclear Five make a decision. All the more so because 95% of them are just in the hands of the mere two powers.

The true threat to the security lies in this; that the nuclear superpowers that should bear the responsibility for world security are still quibbling that nuclear weapons which do not yet even exist are dangerous, while 26,000 existing weapons in the hands of nuclear powers are the guarantee of security. The bi powers should fulfill their own responsibility.

Japan should fulfill a responsibility as country that has suffered the A-bombings

The Japanese government has its own responsibility to fulfill as one that is bound by Article 9 of the Constitution and the Three Non-Nuclear Principles.
Some days ago, a report on the outcome of the G8 foreign ministers' meeting announced that Japan's foreign minister Komura called on all the nuclear weapons states for a cut in nuclear weapons. I felt a slight relief. Although the Japanese Government set out gnon-proliferationh alone as a theme for G8, voices of the grassroots finally found way to the government, at least to some extent. But, I was wrong. I checked the report against the official text, which is English. The result was as foreboded. The English text read:
gWe welcome all nuclear disarmament efforts, notably the ongoing reductions of nuclear weapons that the nuclear-weapon States within the G8 have made so far, and call on all nuclear-weapon States to undertake such reductions in a transparent manner. g

With such heavy nuclear arsenals, able to annihilate the human race many times over, still being left in their hands, how is it possible for him to be satisfied and gwelcomeh the present state of geffortsh.
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The Japanese diplomacy is still one of a vassal state to the US. It needs to open its eyes to understand that the world is changing. George Shults, the secretary of state to President Reagan, whom President Bush deeply adores, many other former secretaries of state or defense, and other politicians who have engaged in nuclear policy are now calling for ga world free of nuclear weaponsh, which in turn is supported by their counterparts of the UK, and further by NATO member countries, such as Norway.
At such a juncture as is now, it cannot be too hard for the Japanese government to behave more sensibly, by saying gNoh to the obsolete and wrong policy of the Bush administration and by implementing the Japanese Constitution and the Three non-nuclear principles as they are, as suggested by Mayor Akiba on August 6 last summer.

Moving toward a Nuclear Weapon-Free, Peaceful and Just World

The world is livelily changing towards Spring 2010, when the next NPT Review Conference will take place. The underlying dynamism is the fact that the present order of dominating the world by force by the small minority can no longer be acceptable for the very survival of the humanity. The ongoing global warming, soaring grain and energy prices, the unbearable damage to humans seen in Iraq and Afghanistan have all resulted from the pursuit of an unjust world order.

Nuclear weapons represent the gevilh in its worst form by which to support an unjust world order, by holding the future of the whole of humanity in hostage. I sincerely hope that this symposium will call on the G8 Summit to take positive steps in attaining a peaceful and just world set free of nuclear weapons. I want to take this opportunity to invite you to plan to join us in the 2008 World Conference against A and H Bombs, which will take place on Aug. 2-9 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and build together a global solidarity to open a new page in history. /end

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