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International Agreement Totally Banning Nuclear Weapons:
Urgent Need for World Peace


Statement on the 3rd Preparatory Committee Meeting
for the 2005 NPT Review Conference

April 26, 2004
Japan Council against A and H Bombs (GENSUIKYO)


War on Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction
The world situation is rapidly changing, forcing a focus on the problem of the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The dangers of WMD, in particular nuclear weapons or nuclear technology, falling into hands of "terrorists" or "states supporting terrorism" have been much emphasized, and a "preventive" war against Iraq has been launched. The use of force prevailed, and multilateral efforts, including those of the United Nations, as well as inspections and other means to overcome the crisis, were disregarded.

The developments of the past 13 months, however, have demonstrated that unilateral armed attack will not resolve the non-proliferation issue. Rather, they have amplified damages and distrust in the world. The unilateral use of force has endangered the international order of peace and the framework in which international problems can be resolved. Despite large-scale investigations, WMD have not been found in Iraq. Instead, the "suspicion" of Iraq's WMD, it was revealed, was fabricated as justification for going to war. Peace has not come to Iraq. Every day many lives of Iraqi people, especially of children are being claimed or seriously placed in jeopardy.

All military operations in Iraq, including indiscriminate attacks on Iraqi people and their mosques and housing, and the use of cluster and other atrocious bombs, should be immediately ended. Essential to a solution is the restoration of the sovereignty of the Iraqi people, UN-centered rehabilitation and the withdrawal of foreign troops, first and foremost the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, which were sent there in violation of the Japanese Constitution.

War is not a solution. Respect and strict observance of the international rules of peace, based on the UN Charter, are the prerequisites to the resolution of WMD and other questions relating to world peace.

Removing Obstacles to the Resolution of the Non-proliferation Issue
During this same period, the U.S.A. as the nuclear super-power made moves contradictory to the abolition of nuclear weapons. In response to the menace of "terrorism" and the "proliferation of WMD", its leaders repeatedly stated, "every option is on the table", a suggestion of the possible use of nuclear weapons. In a bid to remove the threshold between nuclear and conventional weapons, the nuclear super-power also lifted restrictions on the research and development of low-yield nuclear weapons, and even began planning to resume underground nuclear testing.

At the same time, new efforts to acquire nuclear weapons were brought to light. In addition to the five nuclear weapons states, Israel, India and Pakistan, it was also revealed that North Korea and Libya were taking steps to acquire nuclear weapons, and a shady network for nuclear development was disclosed. But it is wrong for a big power with many nuclear weapons, or a group of nuclear weapons states, to try to prevent these moves by threatening military attacks including the use of nuclear weapons.

The nuclear arms race, continuous since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has demonstrated that a nuclear threat by one side gives rise to the development and deployment of nuclear weapons by the other. As confrontations between two military blocs intensified, both the number of nuclear weapons and the list of nuclear countries increased. This in turn, raised concern about the likely possibility of "excessive massacre". India and Pakistan followed a similar process and have become nuclear weapons states.

This vicious cycle is continuing in another way, causing more countries to adopt a nuclear preemptive attack doctrine. The US once agreed with North Korea that it would not threaten North Korea with nuclear weapons, while North Korea would abandon a nuclear weapons development program. But the Nuclear Posture Review that named North Korea as a nuclear attack target strained the relations between the two countries, and very quickly led to North Korea's notification of its withdrawal from the NPT.

The world trends stand against the emergence of new nuclear weapons states under any circumstances. Nevertheless, as long as a universal and binding agreement totally banning nuclear weapons is not achieved, measures for "prevention of proliferation" cannot avoid being inherently discriminatory, running counter to the basic rules of international relations with regard to the principle of the equality of countries.


Most countries across the world are NPT signatories as non-nuclear weapons parties. Yet one particular nuclear weapons state is trying to force on them the division of the nuclear "haves" and the "have-nots" into an "unforeseeable future", by means of threat or use of force, including nuclear blackmail. The nuclear weapons state has even declared the right to resort to "preventive attacks" and "preemptive attacks". This direction further destabilizes the world.

The Challenge of the 2005 NPT Review Conference: Swift Actions for International Agreement Totally Banning Nuclear Weapons
The 2000 NPT Review Conference achieved a breakthrough, overcoming the contradictions of the NPT. The "unequivocal undertaking" to accomplish the total elimination of nuclear arsenals was unanimously agreed upon. This was also the result of sustained efforts by the New Agenda Coalition, Non-Aligned Movement countries and others that share the goal of abolition of nuclear weapons. This demonstrates that the political will of human society will be able to make the abolition of nuclear weapons a reality.

Now, four years after that agreement, the desire of the majority of the world for the abolition of nuclear weapons has become stronger, and more people are working for the elimination of nuclear weapons. In his speech to the previous PrepCom, a US representative said that the vast majority of the NPT parties honored their obligations of non-proliferation; that only a few countries failed to meet them. A majority of 190 plus countries of the world have honestly fulfilled their non-proliferation responsibilities. In these circumstances, now is the time to authentically take up, discuss, and implement the universal and binding agreement totally banning nuclear weapons.

The developments in the four years since the previous Review Conference, in particular events relating to Iraq, make clear that the key to resolving issues of peace and security in the world is not the force of "empire" but the power of "reason and law" supported by cooperation among peoples of the world. This was demonstrated by anti-Iraq war actions in which more than 10 million people worldwide took to the streets and a majority of governments of the world opposed the war.

With this conviction, we call on all NPT parties to make the 2005 NPT Review Conference a place to forthrightly take up in its agenda the international agreement totally banning nuclear weapons, and to discuss and reach an agreement as to its process and time frame. To ensure that these efforts in international negotiations will be fruitful and that 2005 will be made a turning point to the abolition of nuclear weapons, NGOs have an important role to play. We call on all NGOs to extend solidarity with the governments working to set the world free of nuclear weapons, and at the same time to redouble our action, such as signature campaigns, to build up the strong public support in each country to ensure that the goal of abolishing nuclear weapons will be reached without fail.

 

 

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