We protest Japanese government’s absence from UN conference for a treaty banning nuclear weapons; we demand it play proactive role in it.
National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
March 29, 2017
The long-awaited conference on a treaty banning nuclear weapons began on March 27 at UN headquarters in New York. The door to a world without nuclear weapons is about to open. The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) is a trade union federation of the only country to have experienced the horror of nuclear weapons. It has participated in the movement calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons. We warmly welcome the holding of the conference.
We want to take this occasion to express our respect for the Japanese peace movement, which has been a driving force for generating a global movement toward outlawing nuclear weapons and the movement of Hibakusha (A-bomb survivors), who for many years have been telling people about their experiences of damage and aftereffects of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and exposing the inhuman nature of nuclear weapons.
The Japanese government has chosen to stay away from this historic international conference instead of fulfilling its duty as the government of the only country that has experienced nuclear attacks. Zenroren protests with indignation about the government’s absence that tramples upon the wishes of Hibakusha for no more Hiroshimas or Nagasakis. We strongly urge the government to take part in the conference.
The Japanese government has so far argued for a “step-by-step approach” to nuclear disarmament, putting the task of banning nuclear weapons on the backburner. At the UN General Assembly late last year, it voted against a resolution to convene a UN conference to negotiate a legally binding treaty leading to the outlawing and the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
Japan is the only country to have experienced nuclear attacks and its people know how horrible nuclear weapons are. Its government should be at the head of the international effort to all for nuclear weapons to be abolished. Japan must continue to send out messages of peace to the world without yielding to pressure from nuclear powers.
The average age of Hibakusha is over 80. They are earnestly wishing to see a nuclear-weapon free world achieved while they are alive. The government has the duty to stand behind the Hibakusha’s call for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
If the world achieves a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, the humanity will for the first time outlaw such weapons, and the nuclear weapon states will be bound by the treaty in many ways. It will be of great significance. The Japanese government should not back away from the negotiations by saying that a treaty without support from nuclear weapon-states is meaningless. Given the fact that it has at least promised to help nuclear-weapons states and non-nuclear-weapon states to cooperate, it should take part in the negotiation and urge nuclear-weapon states to do the same.
Zenroren demands that the Japanese government fulfill its responsibility as the government of the only atomic-bombed country. It demands that the Japanese government supports a treaty banning nuclear weapons and play a proactive role in the negotiations.
Zenroren is determined to make even greater efforts in the Hibakusha-initiated international signature campaign and other campaigns calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.