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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 February 6 - 12  > Let’s renew determination to step up movement for abolition of nuclear weapons at Bikini Day events
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2008 February 6 - 12 [PEACE]
editorial 

Let’s renew determination to step up movement for abolition of nuclear weapons at Bikini Day events

February 7, 2008
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

March 1 will mark the 54th anniversary of the tragedy at Bikini Atoll. On that day the tuna fishing boat “Daigo Fukuryumaru” (Fifth Lucky Dragon) along with many other Japanese fishing boats as well as many of the region’s islanders were showered with radioactive fallout from a U.S. hydrogen bomb test explosion.

We will use this year’s Bikini Day events as an opportunity to further step up the movement to get nuclear weapons abolished at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in 2010. We will strengthen the movement at this summer’s World Conference against A and H Bombs.

The 2010 NPT Review Conference should be an occasion to reconfirm the commitment to achieving the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons as agreed upon at the 2000 Nuclear Review Conference by participating countries, including the nuclear powers.

However, no progress was made in the 2005 Review Conference due to U.S. obstructions. All the more because of this, calls for the “unequivocal undertaking” to eliminate all nuclear arsenals are increasing among the world’s anti-nuclear movements as well as national and local governments.

The Bush administration has justified its preemptive attack strategy that includes the possible use of nuclear weapons to ostensibly fight the threats of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Its invasion of Iraq was an application of this strategy. The Bush strategy has been proven to be a mistake and failure.

More and more people now believe that the issue of nuclear weapons proliferation can be resolved only through the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Last year, countries of the Non-Aligned Movement and those of the New Agenda Coalition striving to get nuclear weapons abolished made clear their commitment to promoting the implementation of the agreement of the 2000 Review Conference in preparation for the 2010 Review Conference. The UNGA adopted resolutions calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons by overwhelming majorities. It also adopted for the first time a resolution calling for further practical steps to decrease the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems, with a view to ensuring that all nuclear weapons are removed from high alert status.

Former senior U.S. government officials drew public attention last January when they published an essay calling for a nuclear-free world just as they did in January 2007. The authors of the essay entitled “Toward a Nuclear-Free World” were former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and four other former U.S. government officials. The essay stated that their previous essay received many letters of appreciation. In fact, this year’s appeal had endorsement from many former senior officials, including U.S. secretaries of state or defense and presidential assistants for national security since the days of the Kennedy administration. Among them was Colin Powell, who served as secretary of state during the first term of the present Bush administration.

But the Japanese government continues to turn its back on this global anti-nuclear trend and supports the Bush strategy.

Japan abstained from the UNGA vote on the resolution calling for a start of negotiations aimed at eliminating nuclear weapons. The reason it gave for its abstention was that it is too early to adopt such a resolution. The Fukuda Cabinet is cooperating fully with the U.S. military alignment and missile defense program which are in line with the preemptive war strategy and the policy of possible first-use of nuclear weapons.

If Japan continues to act in disregard of the fact that it is the only atomic bombed country that has the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution, it will face severe criticism internationally as well as from within the country.

Nuclear powers are brandishing off their nuclear weapons while calling for non-proliferation. Such an attitude only gives other countries the pretext of the need to acquire nuclear weapons. We must urge the nuclear powers to eliminate their nuclear arsenals. .

It’s time to further increase the nationwide movement that includes the signature campaign calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons, the effort to urge the government to declare Japan nuclear-free, the lawsuits demanding that the government recognize A-bomb survivors’ diseases as caused by exposure to radiation from the atomic bombings, the movement in defense of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, and opposition to the strengthening of the functions of U.S. military bases in Japan.
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