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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 July 6 - 12  > Annual world conference opposing nuclear weapons will focus on NWC
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2016 July 6 - 12 TOP3 [PEACE]
editorial 

Annual world conference opposing nuclear weapons will focus on NWC

July 11, 2016
Akahata editorial

Near the end of the Asia Pacific War, in August 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In commemoration, various events will take place in Japan between August 2 and August 9, including the 2016 World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs scheduled to be held in Hiroshima (International Conference on Aug.2-4, World Conference on Aug.4-6) and Nagasaki (World Conference on Aug.8-9). In May, U.S. President Barack Obama, the first time for a sitting U.S. President, visited the A-bombed city of Hiroshima. Many people now believe that the effort to achieve a “world without nuclear weapons” will bear fruit. The upcoming 2016 World Conference against A and H Bombs will discuss concrete steps needed to abolish nuclear weapons. What kind of vision for the future of humanity the World Conference can present to the international community will be a focus of attention.

Full-fledged discussions begin

Now, the focal point of international discussions on nuclear weapons is how to realize a Nuclear Weapons Convention in order to ban and eliminate all nuclear arms. In this regard, important new progress was made this year and full-fledged discussions on the NWC have commenced in the United Nations.

The UN General Assembly has, over the past two decades, adopted resolutions calling for the start of negotiations on a NWC with support from more than 70% of member countries. However, nuclear weapons states have always voted against these resolutions so no discussion has been undertaken to work out details. Non-nuclear nations in the UNGA last year proposed to set up a Working Group to find concrete measures to achieve a nuclear-free world. About 70 UN member countries gathered in Geneva, Switzerland and launched into a debate on a NWC. This was an epoch-making gathering as the UN finally embarked on holding discussions to bring about a NWC.

The Working Group presented several drafts of a NWC and talked about what should be prohibited. For example, nuclear weapons possession, stockpiling, use, and testing are things that they discussed should be banned. The WG also proposed that a negotiation table on a NWC be set in 2017. The WG will compile its report by August and submit it to the UNGA. The countries which have strongly been opposing these positive moves are the five major nuclear powers, namely, the U.S., Britain., France, Russia, and China. They are all boycotting the WG.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Frank Rose on July 1 expressed opposition to a NWC by saying that it will detach disarmament from consideration for national security. “Consideration for national security” means continued commitment to the nuclear deterrence theory which argues forcefully for the need to maintain nuclear arms.

When he visited Hiroshima, President Obama in his speech at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park said, “[A]mong those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear, and pursue a world without them.” To be faithful to his words, he should abandon the nuclear deterrence theory that acts as a threat to other countries with nuclear arsenals and take a decisive step toward a total ban on and elimination of nuclear weapons.

The Japanese government in UNGA meetings has abstained from voting for UN resolutions calling for a NWC. In WG sessions, Japan’s delegates insist that only a step-by-step approach is realistic, in effect calling to postpone eliminating nuclear weapons. They turned their back on the majority of members who are seeking a NWC. Japan’s nuclear disarmament movement has an international responsibility to stop the Japanese government from acting as a mouthpiece for nuclear weapons states.

Respond to call from Hibakusha

The International Signature Campaign in Support of the Appeal of the Atomic Bomb Survivors of Hiroshima & Nagasaki for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons has been conducted nationwide since it was launched in April. In addition to the further promotion of the campaign which calls on “all State Governments to conclude a treaty to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons” both inside and outside Japan, to achieve a success in the 2016 World Conference will contribute to the opening the door for a NWC.
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