Japan Peace Conference 2003 International Symposium
Secretary General, the Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Japan GENSUIKYO)
Abolishing War and Establishing World Order for Peace
Thank you for inviting me to the panel of this symposium. I want to take this opportunity to express our solidarity to the peace movement of Okinawa for your sustained struggle to render Okinawa nuclear weapon-free and base-free.
We Live in a Time Where Each Action at Grassroots Opens the Road to Peace
When we turn back to the past year, the most deeply etched event in our heart is an attack on Iraq by George W. Bushﾕs USA. The economic sanction for 12 years, unilaterally imposed non-flying zones with repeated bombings by the US-UK forces, Iraqﾕs key political, economic and military facilities totally detected through the UN inquiry, the overwhelming US military power with its military expenditures, which is bigger than the military expenditures of the countries ranking from the 2nd through 27th combined, massive attack with Tomahawk missiles, DU shells, cluster bombs and many other inhuman weapons. The combination of these factors created horrible sight printed in the eyes of everyone.
To us, the peace movement, the development over the past year gave new experiences with valuable lessons. The most important one was the emergence of what ﾒNew York Timesﾓ called the second superpower, the anti-war actions the world over supported by extensive public opinion. Unprecedented number of people went to the street to demonstrate their opposition to war, from which the overwhelming number of Governments took courage to stand against the war. People often questioned in Japan why we did not have a demonstration of one million of people. But in this same Japan, the opposition to war reached 78% and even 80% depending on the media. Linked with the deliberation at the UN Security Council on the use of force, actions of each one at each country actually worked many times to hold the move for unlawful military attack in check, defending the rule of peace stipulated by the UN Charter.
This intense confrontation between the pro-war move and the peace opinion is continuing even now, taking variety of different forms. I believe it is important to note that through all these processes, those who stand for war are losing their moral ground and trust from the people, and are undermining their own holdings.
No Empire Can Rule Over the World Any Longer
Some two years ago, the New Yorkers in its April 1 issue carried an article. Based on the document the reporter obtained, it said that the thrust in the Bushﾕs foreign policy was to ﾒpreclude the emergence a global rival to the USA in the foreseeable futureﾓ. Now, the Bush Administration has driven this doctrine as far as to say that the ﾒAmerica is a nation with a missionﾓ, that ﾒthis Great republic will lead the cause of freedomﾓ, and that ﾒAmerica will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our countryﾓ (the State of the Union Address, Jan. 20, 2004). So, Bush is quite free to use force wherever he finds it necessary.
But actually this politics has been destined to face bankruptcy since its very beginning. The policy of preemption, the unilateral decision to use force, has been warned as the destruction of international order at the earliest days. Michael Moore, the film director who denounced Bush as ﾒShame on Youﾓ at the ceremony to receive Oscar in March last year, recommend us to read six books to read. Paul Krugman, the author of ﾒGreat Unravelingﾓ, one of those six books, was a member of the Economic Council under the Reagan Administration. He says, ﾒSince World War II the United States has built its foreign policy around international institutionsﾓ, that it ﾒhas tried to make it clear that it is not an old-fashioned imperialist power, which uses military force as it seas fitﾓ. But neo-conservative ﾒhave contempt for all thatﾓ, that they are ﾒa warlike peopleﾓ, and that many people close to the administration have made it clear hat they regard this war was only a beginningﾓ.
So, even to the eyes of many who played important roles under the Reagan Administration, which George W. Bush admires, he is a ﾒrogueﾓ who has reversed the history from the time of the ﾒrule of lawﾓ to the time of the ﾒrule of violenceﾓ.
Worse for Bush, all the lies that enabled his ﾒunilateral actionﾓ are now being revealed one after another. The lie on Iraqﾕs weapons of mass destruction being as serious threat to the US was heavily countered by Scott Ritter, a member of the UN inspection team recruited from the CIA. Now Bush said 9 days ago, ﾒthe Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations.ﾓ (The State of the Union, 04) And this same David Kay, the leader of the US investigation team, said only some 70 hours later that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that they did not exist from the beginning, and that Iraq did not really resume the nuclear weapons program.
Another book, recommended by Michael Moore, entitled ﾒLies and Lying Liars Who Tell Themﾓ, is also popular now. Of course this is about Bush and the neo-conservative journalists around him. I believe that Koizumi and his Government who have parroted the lies imported from the Bush Administration must also be placed on the examination table to refute lies and reveal the truth.
With the US presidential election just 10 months ahead of us, the machine that drove unsuccessful candidate George W. Bush to the Whitehouse in 2000 must be running in full operation. Yet I believe that mounting criticism against the outrages of the Bush Administration generated by sensible people and movements both in the US and worldwide will accelerate the global process leading to a new era where unjust war will no longer find any justification.
The Dangerous Nuclear Policy Will Cause Further Isolation
As to his nuclear policy, Dr. Joseph Rotblat, the Nobel Lauriat who came to the 1993 World Conference against A and H Bombs says, ﾒthe danger of this policy can hardly be overemphasized.ﾓ Elaborating this, he says, ﾒit is in the offensive aspect that the biggest changes have occurredﾓ, and that it ﾒspells out a strategy which incorporates nuclear capability into conventional war planningﾓ. According to him, ﾒthe previous doctrine of deterrence, by which the actual use of nuclear weapons was seen as a last resort, when everything else had failed, has been thrown overboard. In the new doctrine, nuclear weapons have become a standard part of military strategy; they would be used in a conflict just like any other explosivesﾓ
As to the present development of small nuclear weapons, Rotblat points out:
ﾒAnother worry about the development of the new bomb is that it would blur the distinction between nuclear and conventional weapons The chief characteristic of a nuclear weapon is its enormous destructive power,ﾉ But if ﾉ a nuclear bomb can be manufactured which does not differ quantitatively from ordinary explosives, then the qualitative difference will also disappear; the nuclear threshold will be crossed and nuclear weapons will gradually come to be seen as a tool of war, even though the danger they present to the existence of the human race will remainﾓ (The Nuclear Issue Pugwash and the Bush Policies)
Also, Bushﾕs nuclear strategy is triggering and aggravating other nuclear issues in the world. In response to the new ﾒNuclear Posture Reviewﾓ, Russia has adopted a similar policy, including the preemptive use of nuclear weapons. The dangerous nuclear brinkmanship of North Korea, using a ﾒnuclear cardﾓ, is being pursued allegedly to balance with the threat of Bush Administration to use nuclear weapons.
As doctor Rotblat points out, ﾒwith the additional disposition to act preemptivelyﾓ, ﾒthe situation has become even more threatening.ﾓ However, It is obviously outrageous and irrational to claim that it should maintain and prepare the actual use of a gigantic nuclear force, while pressing for ﾒnon-proliferationﾓ on most others and even by threatening them with the same nuclear weapons. Such a position runs counter to the existing world order in spirit, and cannot but isolate itself from the rest of the world.
On December 8 last year, the UN General Assembly adopted a number of disarmament-related resolutions. Of them, the resolution moved by the seven New Agenda Coalition (NAC) members, such as Sweden and New Zealand, which calls for the implementation of the ﾒunequivocal undertakingﾓ to accomplish ﾒcomplete elimination of nuclear weaponsﾓ, was supported by 133 countries as against 6 votes that opposed it. Another resolution, also moved by NAC, concerns the reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons. This was also adopted with the support of 128 countries as against 4 countries that voted against it. The resolution moved by Malaysia and other, which calls for the start of negotiations leading to the abolition of nuclear weapons, won support form 124 countries white the number of opposition votes was 29. Note, that the number of opposition votes cast against the two NAC resolutions were only 6 and 4. These figures tell us a lot, given that the number of the NATO members for example is 19.
Let US Build Momentum for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
The fifty-five years of undaunted efforts of the anti nuclear movement in Japan and the world since the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki led to the agreement of the 187 NPT members, including the five nuclear weapons states, reached in May 2000. It declared their ﾒunequivocal undertakingﾓ to carry out the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Coupled with this achievement, the surge of global anti war actions imbued the anti-nuclear weapons movement with a new hope. Icho Ito, the mayor of Nagasaki, said to overseas delegates to the 2003 World Conference against A and H Bombs who visited him in August, ﾒI want you to build actions even bigger that the anti-Iraq War campaign with the goal of the abolition of nuclear weaponsﾓ.
The next year will mark the 60 years since the A-bomb suffering of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And in May, the next NPT Review Conference will take place in Yew York. It will be a place where the implementation of the ﾒunequivocal undertakingﾓ of the nuclear weapons states is to be checked and examined strictly and in detail. Anti-nuclear movements and people in the world have already started their preparation to build momentum towards May 2005.
To make 2005 a turning year for a nuclear weapon-free world, the 2003 World Conference against A and H Bombs launched a new international signature campaign in support of the call: ﾒAbolition Now - for Hiroshima/Nagasaki not to be repeatedﾓ. The campaign started as an expression of common will of some 7,300 Japanese and overseas delegates who took part in the Aug. 9 closing session.
The ﾒMayors for Peaceﾓ, in which the two A-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are playing a major role, issued a program entitled ﾒVision 2020: Urgent Action for the Elimination of Nuclear weaponsﾓ. It is proposing a demonstration of one million people to take place in New York during the next NPT Review Conference in May next year. The United for Peace and Justice, the network of the US peace movements that played a major role in organizing anti-war actions is responding to this proposal, putting forward May 1, 2005 as a possible date of action.
GENSUIKYO will soon convene two important events: the annual National Conference in early February and a series of events marking the 50th year of the Bikini Tragedy organized on and around this coming March 1 in Shizuoka. We will elaborate our response to ensure that the Japanese anti-nuclear weapons movement will play its due role.
One specific issue is to form a widest possible cooperation between movements and organizations. The World Conference against A and H Bombs has already marked a number of successes in developing cooperation with ﾒnational governments, international organizations, local governments and other bodies that share the goal of the abolition of nuclear weaponsﾓ. In the same way, we welcome and positively respond to every initiative for dialogue, cooperation or joint action, both nationally and at the local level, so that a truly nationwide cooperation will be built up to reach the goal of abolishing nuclear weapons.
Second, every concerted action requires sustained organizing efforts at grassroots and wide-ranging public support, if such action is to be really effective. It is in this prospect that we launched the new signature campaign to be developed worldwide.
The campaign has spread to some 30 countries. It has been signed by UN ambassadors, disarmament ambassadors, and leaders of Nobel Lauriat Organizations, as well as by many citizens in Japan and overseas who got the signature form through Internet. In the World Social Forum in Mumbai some 10 days ago, with warm cooperation from Joseph Gerson, present here, and many fiends in Japan and overseas, Gensuikyo held a ﾒGlobal Hibakushaﾓ session and made known the messages of the Hibakusha of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, as well as from India and Pakistan. Over 3000 people appended their signatures and listened to the call that the struggle to overcome the global economic hegemony and the movement to rid the world of nuclear menace should come together to form a new, nuclear weapon-free and war-free world based on justice.
I take the liberty of appealing to particularly the Japanese participants to make every effort so that this signature drive will be rooted in all 3,300 cities, towns and villages in Japan by March 1, the day we commemorate the 50th year of the actual start of our movement against A and H Bombs nationwide.
Making Japan a Country that Will Contribute to a Nuclear Weapons-Free and War-Free World
The third and last point to be made is that working to establish a world order of peace, or in our words, a world without nuclear weapons and without war, means to turn Japan to a country that will contribute to building such a world.
Present Japan, which Koizumi politics has deformed, deceiving people with his pseudo reformist image, is exactly contrary to the ideal that Japan is supposed to carry. It is to incorporate Japan into Bushﾕs drive for unipolar world based on the US military forces and preemption, destroying Japanese Constitution and burying the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. The blue print was shown already in the Armitage Report in October 2000. The scheme is being pressed for in rapid succession through the enactment and enforcement of the anti-Constitutional Contingency Laws, dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq, and through the participation in the ﾒMissile Defenseﾓ, which stands on assumption that the massive preemptive attack, possibly nuclear, is launched by the US and which has its prime aim to defend US forces and their bases deployed in and around Japan. And the reasoning and excuse for each step are solidified by lies like ones of ﾒNeo Conservativesﾓ, which maybe he learned at Bushﾕs ranch in Texas. The ﾒthreat from North Koreaﾓ is being fully exploited in this scheme.
But it is important to note that each step described above is contradicting the desires and energies of the overwhelming majority people in Japan that have defended the Constitution for over 57 year, and led in the worldwide opinion for the abolition of nuclear weapons. As the anti-war action on Iraq evidenced, the energy for peace erupts when people understand that change is possible.
Relying on the enormous potential of the people, as seen in the 60 million signatures in support of the Appeal from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, over 80% of the Japanese municipalities that declare themselves nuclear-free, and the opposition to the war that reached some 80% in almost every poll, we need to endeavor to make Japan a country that will contribute to the abolition of nuclear weapons, the country that will prove the real value of its peace provisions of the Constitution. Let us do it rapidly.