Statement on the TPNW set to enter into force
We urge the Japanese government to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and fulfill its responsibility as the only country to have been attacked with nuclear weapons
Secretary General of the National Confederation of Trade Unions
October 26, 2020
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) reached 50 ratifications on October 25. It will go into force on January 22, 2021. We welcome this historic achievement together with the Hibakusha, who have continued to call for the elimination of nuclear weapons, and with workers and other people, who have tenaciously developed the Movement against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. We strongly demand that the government of Japan, the only A-bombed country, stop clinging to the “nuclear deterrence doctrine” and immediately sign and ratify the TPNW.
The TPNW was adopted at a UN conference in July 2017 by a vote of 122 countries in favor. Its preamble says that the complete elimination of nuclear weapons remains the only way to guarantee that nuclear weapons are never used under any circumstances. It prohibits use or threat to use, production, possession, testing, or development of nuclear weapons. The treaty also calls for providing assistance for victims of the use or testing of nuclear weapons or any other nuclear explosive devices and for taking necessary measures towards environmental remediation of areas contaminated. With the TPNW’s entry into force, nuclear weapons will be outlawed for the first time in history.
But the five nuclear powers ? the US, Russia, Britain, France and China ? and other forces that cling to nuclear weapons remain hostile to the TPNW. They not only opposed its adoption but have tried to obstruct ratifications. The fact that the treaty was set to go into effect constitutes a major success achieved by Japanese hibakusha and many governments as well as people’s movements in different countries through overcoming the major powers’ attempts to foil their effort. In order to realize the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons under international law outlawing such weapons, we must isolate the US, Russia and other nuclear weapon countries, and those countries and governments that cling to the “nuclear umbrella”, and force them to ratify the treaty.
The Japanese government continues to turn its back on the TPNW saying that it follows a different approach instead of signing the treaty. How aberrant this is for the only country to have suffered nuclear attacks in war! Prime Minister Suga’s government is considering having enemy base attack capability ostensibly in defense of possible North Korean missile attack as the pretext. But the most effective defense against possible nuclear missile attack is possible by prohibiting and eliminating nuclear weapons. Reliance on the US nuclear deterrents is endangering the lives of the people. By getting out of the “nuclear umbrella” and persuading nuclear weapon countries to participate in the TPNW is what Japan as the only country to have been attacked with nuclear weapons should do.
Zenroren has joined the Movement against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs calling for a ban and elimination of nuclear weapons, relief for and solidarity with the Hibakusha, and participated in the grassroots movement in workplaces and local communities. It has also increased efforts calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons by making the damage and after-effects of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki known to the workers and unions in nuclear weapon countries, such as the US, France, India, and Pakistan and those in countries that rely on the nuclear umbrella, including South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Portugal and Canada.
On October 29, a signature campaign will start demanding the Japanese government sign and ratify the TPNW. Zenroren will do all it can to bring a success to the signature movement. It will continue to work closely with the Hibakusha, who have accumulated efforts to get nuclear weapons eliminated, and with all those people involved in the Movement against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs to work make further progress towards the elimination of nuclear weapons by making use of the TPNW.