Genbaku Dome (vredesmonument), Hiroshima (Foto: Ludo De Brabander)
It is now 77th year of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States. The human race is now facing a new danger of the use of nuclear weapons. Carrying on the aggression against Ukraine, President Putin of Russia is repeating a nuclear threat. Along with Russia, the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are maintaining and consolidating their “nuclear deterrents.” From Hiroshima which suffered the indescribable damage of the nuclear weapons and with Hibakusha we appeal to the world: nuclear weapons are “weapons of absolute evil”; they are designed exclusively to cause human extinction, which will not allow humanity to live humanly lives or to die humanly deaths. We should never ever allow the threat or use of these weapons. The only way to end this danger is the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. With fresh determination, we move forward toward achieving a “nuclear weapon-free, peaceful and just world.”
Overcoming the present crises, international politics is moving forward. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is the first treaty in history totally banning nuclear weapons and has entered into force. Support and the number of participating states keep increasing (66 ratification, 86 signing). The first Meeting of the States Parties to the Treaty on June 21-23 in Vienna adopted by consensus the political declaration entitled “Our Commitment to a World Free of Nuclear Weapons” (Vienna Declaration), sending out a hopeful and powerful message for a “world without nuclear weapons.” It made an unrelenting criticism against the nuclear deterrence doctrine, saying, “This highlights now more than ever the fallacy of nuclear deterrence doctrines, which are based and rely on the threat of the actual use of nuclear weapons and, hence, the risks of the destruction of countless lives, of societies, of nations, and of inflicting global catastrophic consequences.” “Vienna Action Plan”, another adopted document, elaborated on the assistance for the Hibakusha and nuclear test victims, the modality for the nuclear possessing states to join the treaty and other details to implement the treaty. It is now an undeniable reality that the TPNW is established as international law, supported by the majority of the countries in the world. If we further develop our cooperation between civil society and governments, building on the TPNW, it will be possible to open a prospect of a “world without nuclear weapons”.
The fact that Russia, a nuclear superpower, openly threatened to use nuclear weapons and even put its nuclear forces on special alert without regard for the sacrifice of its own people revealed that the concept of “nuclear deterrence,” that nuclear weapons “deter the use of nuclear weapons,” can no longer work. It has become also clear that the “nuclear deterrence” is a means to invade another country and rule it by the force of nuclear threat. The “nuclear deterrence” doctrine rests on the premise of claiming countless human lives, destroying cities and their environments and causing catastrophic consequences. It leads humanity to the brink of extinction. It is time to overcome the nuclear deterrence doctrine.
The 10th NPT Review Conference is in session in New York on Aug. 1 through 26. We call on it, in which Nuclear Five participate, to contain the danger of the use of nuclear weapons and to open a prospect for a world without nuclear weapons. The NPT includes the obligation to negotiate on nuclear disarmament (Article 6), and its review conferences have so far agreed on an “unequivocal undertaking” to achieve the “complete elimination of their nuclear arsenals,” on achieving a “world without nuclear weapons,” on “making special effort” to establish “framework” for the nuclear weapon-free world, “establishing nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East.” Yet, not only have the nuclear weapon-states turned their back on their obligation to implement them, but even “modernization” of nuclear arsenals and consolidation of the policy to use them are being promoted. We demand that the nuclear weapon states should end those insincere attitudes, reconfirm their treaty obligations and the past agreements and implement them in good faith. The TPNW is a treaty that helps implement Article 6 of the NPT and they complement each other.
Japan is intensely called on to play a role commensurate with being the only A-bombed country in war. But the Japanese government is deepening its dependence on the US “nuclear umbrella,” opposing the TPNW, and keeps turning its back on the desire of its own people, as well as the major trend of the world. Calling for discussions about “nuclear sharing” is also a serious problem. These actions simply accelerate the vicious cycle of nuclear arms versus nuclear arms in North East Asia. We call on the Japanese government to do away with “nuclear deterrence” doctrine, and to support and express its willingness to join in the TPNW.
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is a sheer violation of the UN Charter. We demand the withdrawal of the Russian forces and the end of all their military actions, including attacks and occupations of nuclear power plants in Ukraine. The international community should unite for the restoration of the world order based on the common rule of the UN Charter. Even if there are differences in position related to Russia, it is important to note that the first MSP to the TPNW unanimously “condemn(ed) unequivocally any and all nuclear threats.” We call for the resolution of all international conflicts by diplomacy. The problems of North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, or China’s attempt to change status quo by force in South China Sea or in East China Sea should also be addressed through dialogs and negotiations based on international law and not by military force.
We firmly oppose any move to strengthen and expand military alliances or build-up military arsenals, taking advantage of the aggression against Ukraine. It is a serious concern that the NATO at its summit conference on June 29 in Madrid adopted a new Strategic Concept to strengthen it as nuclear military alliance, greatly expand crisis response forces, and that in the Asia-Pacific region the US and others are moving to expand bilateral and multilateral military cooperation. We oppose the remolding of Japan into a war-prepared country under the Japan-US military alliance with plans for the Constitutional revision, massive military build-up and development of “enemy base attack capability”. The role to be played by the Japanese people’s movement to counter these moves is of decisive importance.
Gender perspectives need to be carried through in the nuclear disarmament process. The disproportionate impact from the use of nuclear weapons on women, and the low proportion of women in disarmament negotiations show that this is an urgent problem to be addressed. This perspective should consciously be addressed by the anti-nuclear peace movement. It is also urgent to divert resources spent for war or military build-up to address climate crisis, resolution of poverty and disparity, and protection of human rights and dignity. Achieving a “nuclear weapon-free, peaceful and just world” is now urgently required.
The decisive factor to determine the future course is the movement of the people and their opinion. We propose to lead in the following actions aimed at a nuclear weapon-free, peaceful and just world:
- To initiate campaigns to make known the A-bomb damage of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and other inhumane consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, encouraging testimonies of the Hibakusha or nuclear test victims, A-bomb photo-panel exhibitions and many other forms of action; Let us thus build up opinion opposing any use or threat of use of nuclear weapons; Let us ask the United Nations and member states governments to promote or support these activities;
- Let us build broadest public opinion in support of the promotion of, the support to and/or participation in the TPNW and of the elimination of nuclear weapons. In the countries possessing nuclear weapons or dependent on “nuclear umbrella” in particular, let us strengthen the movement to press their governments to join the treaty;
- Let us bring success to the international joint action “Peace Wave” for the elimination of nuclear weapons as one common objective (launched on August 4 through 9, 2022);
- On such important occasions as the opening of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, the new round of the NPT Review process, the next MSP to the TPNW, let us promote cooperation between the governments and civil society movements to reach the common goal;
- Let us develop joint actions for the reduction of military expenditures, dismantling foreign military bases, dissolution of military alliances, compensation and support for the Agent Orange and other war victims and eradication of their suffering, promotion of peace education and for other tasks for peace against war;
- Let us further broaden the movement for “a world without nuclear weapons” by extending solidarity to many other movements of various strata and generations of people such as: for lives and livelihood, human rights, Zero nuclear power plants, break of climate crisis, gender equality, and peace and democracy.
- We reiterate our determination that together with Hibakusha and with young generation on whom our future will depend, we will stand in the forefront of these actions.
No More Hiroshimas! No More Nagasakis!
No More Hibakusha! Abolish Nuclear Weapons!
August 6, 2022
The 2022 World Conference against A and H Bombs
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