Letter to the Heads of the Five Nuclear Weapon States
Decision and Action Now for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons
Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs
It will soon be the 68th summer since Hiroshima and Nagasaki were obliterated by two atomic bombs.
With call of the survivors who witnessed the “nuclear hell” for “No more Hiroshimas, No more Nagasakis, No more Hibakusha” and mounting public support for them, a historic momentum is building up to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons.
The NPT Review Conference of May 2010 agreed to “achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” and declared, “all States need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.”
gensuikWith the 2015 NPT Review Conference approaching, the governments and civil society must take actions in unison to bring this goal to a reality. So far, although three years have elapsed since then, the path to reach this goal is not yet in sight. True, a certain number of nuclear weapons, including those dealt between the U.S. and Russia, were cut down, but still some 19,000 nuclear warheads are stockpiled or deployed. Even such moves as acquiring nuclear weapons are continuing, as seen in the current tension on the Korean Peninsula. Whether intentional or accidental, the danger of nuclear weapons actually being used remains real.
Why does such a situation continue? It is because of the lack of an agreement for a total ban on nuclear weapons in international politics. The use of nuclear weapons is a crime against humanity, threatening the survival of the human community and civilization. It is “contrary to the rule of international law …, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law,” as declared by the International Court of Justice. History tells us that the claim of the nuclear powers that their nuclear weapons are for deterrence to guarantee security is “contagious." It pushes the threatened side to seek the same “guarantee of security.”
In order to eliminate nuclear weapons, the only way is to totally prohibit them. The United Nations is called on to unanimously confirm this and take actions to achieve a nuclear weapons convention (NWC). The Security Council, especially its five permanent members, which are the nuclear weapon states, bears special responsibility to exert leadership to this end. They must recall the fact that the Security Council Summit held in September 2009 agreed to “create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons” and confirmed the obligation to pursue negotiations for nuclear disarmament mandated by Article 6 of the NPT.
The conditions for totally banning nuclear weapons are ripe:
-- At the General Assembly of the United Nations, the resolutions calling for nuclear weapons abolition all command overwhelming majority support. At its 67th session, the proposer of the New Agenda Coalition resolution, which was supported by 175 member states, emphasized the need to set "timelines” and a “legally-binding framework” for this.
-- The statement warning of the inhumanity of nuclear weapons use and calling for efforts to outlaw them is supported worldwide. In addition, many countries are taking part in work for consultation and negotiations, including one leading to nuclear weapons abolition.
-- Of the 190 States parties to the NPT, 185 states have undertaken the obligations of Article 2 as the “non-nuclear weapon states,” renouncing the acquisition, development or possession of nuclear weapons. -- India and Pakistan, which are non-parties to the NPT, and North Korea, which has declared to withdraw from the NPT, voted in favor of the UN resolution (A/C. 1/67/L9) calling for a start of negotiations leading to a nuclear weapons convention.
These facts prove that if the five nuclear weapon states make a decision, the U.N. Security Council or General Assembly can confirm in consensus the need to totally ban nuclear weapons. Based on that, negotiations for a NWC can be launched.
We must point out that any further delay in this decision and actions is tantamount to neglecting the danger of causing a second or third Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
In August 2010, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, as the first U.N. Secretary-General to visit Hiroshima, renewed his determination to achieve a “world without nuclear weapons.” In support of the proposal by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki calling for the “abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020,” he invited the world to join together with the Hibakusha on the 75th anniversary of the bombing to celebrate the end of nuclear weapons.
After two more annual Preparatory Committee meetings, the next NPT Review Conference will be held in 2015. The focal point of the Conference will be how much the agreement of achieving “the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,” placed in the first line of the “Principles and Objectives” of the 2010 Review Conference document, will have been achieved. The determination and effort to that end by the five nuclear weapon states would also promote the implementation of the specific agreements, including the ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the start of negotiations for a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty and the convening of an international conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction, and help eradicate the danger of nuclear proliferation.
For the reasons above, we sincerely appeal that you take initiatives to achieve an agreement for a total ban on nuclear weapons at the forthcoming Second PrepCom of the NPT and the sessions of the U.N. General Assembly in autumn and in the Security Council, so that the 2015 NPT Review Conference will become a place to launch actions for definitely attaining the “peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”
CC: Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations =============================================
Japan Council against A & H Bombs (GENSUIKYO)
2-4-4 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8464 JAPAN