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We protest against the Japanese government’s refusal to support joint statement concerning “humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons”

April 25, 2013
ODAGAWA Yoshikazu
Secretary General
National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)

At the Second meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, which is now in session at the United Nations at Geneva, a joint statement on 'The humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons' was released by South Africa and 73 other countries. The Japanese government reportedly refused to endorse the statement on the grounds that doing so is incompatible with Japan’s security policy. This negative stance is tantamount to relinquishing its responsibility of the government of the only atom-bombed country and going against the calls of atomic bomb survivors and all other people for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

The joint statement says nuclear weapons have an immense destructive capability and brought vast damage via the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as through nuclear tests. It says, “It is in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons are never used again, under any circumstances.” It points to the inhuman nature of the use of nuclear weapons, as it has been called for by Switzerland other countries since last year, reflecting the fact that the effort to outlaw nuclear weapons has become a growing global trend. Nevertheless, the Japanese government, bound by the Japan-US Security Treaty and dependence on US nuclear umbrella, refused to sign the joint statement. This only adds to the dependence of the Japanese government on US military strategy. We are concerned that such a stance of the Japanese government will have a negative impact on the trend moving toward nuclear weapons abolition in Northeast Asia where tensions are increasing nowadays.

Some countries involved in the joint statement reportedly tried to win Japan’s endorsement even by offering to cut out the phrase “outlawing” nuclear weapons. The only way to eliminate nuclear weapons is to work hard to outlaw and prohibit totally such weapons. If those countries that possess nuclear weapons decide to do so, the international community will come to agree with the necessity and will be able to start international negotiations for banning nuclear weapons. The time is ripe for doing it. The Japanese must be criticized severely for its act to delay such decision and action.

The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) is determined to further step up its campaign to collect signatures in support of the Appeal for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons and help increase the grassroots movement to heighten the level of public opinion calling for a ban on nuclear weapons. It will demand that the Japanese government break away from the present policy of depending on US military strategy and nuclear umbrella.

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