We warmly welcome adoption of treaty banning nuclear weapons and urge Japanese government to share historic instrument
July 10, 2017
Statement by HASHIGUCHI Norishio, Deputy Secretary General
National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
A treaty to ban nuclear weapons was adopted at a UN conference on July 7. The treaty was approved by 122 nations. It was a historic moment that resoundingly declared the doors open toward a world without nuclear weapons, for the first time since atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 72 years ago. The most inhumane and atrocious weapon has for the first time been outlawed, just as chemical and biological weapons are prohibited. This can be an important first step toward the abolition of nuclear weapons. The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) has been involved in the movement calling for the prevention of nuclear war and the elimination of nuclear weapons, one of its major objectives set by its Action Program. As a union confederation of the only atomic bombed country, Zenroren warmly welcomes the adoption of the treaty.
The 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly late last year adopted a resolution to hold a conference on a legally binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons leading to their elimination. The move was approved by 113 countries. After the first round of talks that began on March 27, negotiators met for the second round from June 15 and adopted the treaty on July 7. Zenroren expresses high regard for those governments and civil society for their efforts to hold serious and earnest discussions. It is regrettable that the Japanese government stayed away from this conference. We lodge a protest with indignation about its absence.
The treaty’s preamble has reference to hibakusha: “The States Parties, mindful of the unacceptable suffering of and harm caused to the victims of the use of nuclear weapons (hibakusha), as well as of those affected by the testing of nuclear weapons…have agreed” on the treaty. This is an expression of high regard for the Hibakusha Movement that has for many years exposed the inhuman nature of nuclear weapons and for the peace movement of Japan and the rest of the world that has consistently been calling for nuclear weapons to be abolished before the last Hibakusha go away.
The treaty also prohibits the threat to use nuclear weapons, which can be characterized as the cornerstone of nuclear deterrence, in addition to banning their development, production, manufacturing, acquisition, possession, stockpiling and deployment. These provisions will bar nuclear weapons from being brought into or deployed in countries that do not have such weapons or from being used to intimidate those countries. Above everything else, the treaty can be used to legally demand that nuclear weapons countries give up the illegal weapons. The treaty is epoch-making as it provides unshakable foundations for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
The treaty will be open for signature by any member state on September 19. After signing by 50 countries, it will without doubt go into effect in 90 days. The world would take the first step toward an era outlawing nuclear weapons to abolish them. At this juncture, the Japanese government is called upon to express its attitude.
Zenroren strongly demands that the Japanese government sign the treaty. In order to help heighten the level of public opinion to pressure the Japanese government to take part in the historic treaty, we will continue to join forces with many other organizations and individuals to increase the effort in international signature collection drive initiated by the hibakusha. We are determined to do our utmost to bring the upcoming World Conference against A & H Bombs to a historic success.
Zenroren’s Vice President Yuri NAGAO participated in Women’s March in NY