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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 June 28 - July 4  > Success of 2017 antinuke World Conference will give fresh boost to realization of nuclear weapons ban treaty
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2017 June 28 - July 4 TOP3 [PEACE]
editorial 

Success of 2017 antinuke World Conference will give fresh boost to realization of nuclear weapons ban treaty

July 3, 2017
Akahata editorial

The UN Conference in NYC on a treaty banning nuclear weapons is advancing discussions towards a goal of adopting the treaty on July 7. Under such a historic situation, the 2017 World Conference against A and H Bombs will take place in August. The international meeting will be held from August 3 to 5 in Hiroshima, the Hiroshima Day Rally will take place on August 5 and 6, and the Nagasaki Day Rally on August 7-9. Next month’s Conference is attracting more and more attention as it will be an important event showing the prospects and accelerating momentum of antinuke movements.

New development of antinuke movements

The draft Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons under discussion is epoch-making as it will be the first-ever treaty designed to illegalize nuclear weapons and put the label of “inhumane” on those weapons. Unlike most other treaties, the draft Convention highly evaluates roles played by A-bomb survivors (Hibakusha) and civil society. It states that victims of nuclear weapons attacks and nuclear tests should be given appropriate support. This draft is the fruit of efforts jointly made by representatives of non-nuclear weapons states and members of civil societies including Hibakusha, peace activists, and the Japanese Communist Party delegates to the first round of the UN Conference. This year’s World Conference will be even more significant given that this event has long provided citizens an opportunity to exchange opinions and nurture cooperation with representatives of the UN and governments of countries across the world.

If the draft Convention is adopted, it will, combined with the world’s antinuke peace movements, pave the way for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. The 2017 World Conference will offer a prime opportunity to representatives of global antinuke peace movements and government representatives from countries advocating a nuclear weapons ban treaty to exchange views on how to promote their efforts.

The realization of the nuclear weapons ban treaty will be a decisive step for antinuke movements pressuring nuclear weapons states and countries under the nuclear umbrella to take part in the treaty. With the UN General Assembly scheduled for autumn, the World Conference in Hiroshima and Nagasaki will provide a decisive turning point.

The World Conference will give a fresh boost to the International Signature Campaign in Support of the Appeal of the Hibakusha for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. On June 16 at the UN Headquarters, 2.96 million signatures collected through the campaign were submitted to Elayne Whyte, the President of the UN Conference, and Nakamitsu Izumi, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. Whyte said that she was touched by receiving such a large number of signatures. This fact shows that the signature-collection drive serves as an engine to encourage international politics to move forward toward nuclear disarmament.

In Hiroshima and Nagasaki, more and more municipal heads have begun playing a leadership role in motivating their municipal employees to collect Hibakusha-led antinuke signatures. Hibakusha organizations, Japan Gensuikyo, the Japan Congress against A- and H-Bombs (Gensuikin), the Forum for Peace, Human Rights and Environment, and many citizens’ groups have also been enhancing their cooperation throughout the country. The 2017 World Conference will give further momentum to the development of their joint efforts and the Hibakusha-led international signature drive.

The Abe government, in contrast, is turning its back on the public demand calling for a nuclear weapons-ban treaty, and is coming under a lot of criticism both at home and abroad. Prime Minister Abe’s subservience to the United States and the stance of other nuclear weapons states running counter to the world trend is disgraceful for the government of the only atomic bombed nation. The coming World Conference will be important in putting pressure on the government to change its attitude.

The forcible enactment of the anti-conspiracy law by the ruling coalition, its ambition for revising Article 9 of the Constitution, its arm-twisting tactics in regard to the construction of a new U.S. base in Okinawa, and the use of national policies for its own interests are what many people are currently voicing their opposition to by criticizing all these moves as representing the “despotic, runaway, arrogant” nature of the government. With various anti-Abe regime movements increasing in Japan, the World Conference in August will provide an opportunity to reinforce solidarity and exchange among concerned individuals and civil society.

More and more young people become supporters

In addition, an increasing number of young people have now shown their enthusiasm to respond to Hibakusha’s demand. In order to raise funds for Hibakusha to visit NYC to submit antinuke signatures to the UN conference on an international pact banning nuclear weapons, young activists launched a crowdfunding campaign on the Internet. In this way, they achieved the target figure and received a lot of coverage through the media. The 2017 National Peace March organized by the Organizing Committee for the World Conference has also been attracting much attention to its “international youth relay march” in which overseas marchers take part in relays.

Supported by youth power, the movement working to establish a “world without nuclear weapons” should increase even more with internationally coordinated activities not seen before. The majority of people inhabiting the world hope that the World Conference this summer will be the venue to achieve this.

Past related articles:
> Shii issues statement welcoming draft N-ban treaty [May 24, 2017]
> Shii criticizes Japanese government’s shameful attitude toward antinuke UN discussions [March 29, 2017]
> Annual world conference opposing nuclear weapons will focus on NWC [July 11, 2016]

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