Nuclear Abolition Petition to Japanese Government
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama
Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada
Japan Should Take True Leadership Towards Nuclear Abolition
We welcome the new Japanese Government's early expression of its intention to "take the lead in the pursuit of the elimination of nuclear weapons". We also highly appreciate Prime Minister Hatoyama's inclusion of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation among the "5 challenges" covered in his September 24 speech to the UN General Assembly, as well as the reference in his speech to the UN Security Council on the same day to Japan's "moral responsibility as the only country that has ever experienced atomic bombings" "to prevent the vicious cycle of a nuclear arms race".
As a result of President Obama's statement that "the United States will take concrete steps toward a world without nuclear weapons", the global trend towards nuclear abolition is stronger than ever before. We call on the Japanese government to take concrete action to accelerate this global trend and bring about the elimination of nuclear weapons as soon as possible.
All the measures for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament proposed by Prime Minister Hatoyama at the UN Security Council meeting are important. Reduction of the nuclear arsenals of nuclear-armed states, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT), support for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), response to nuclear proliferation activities including by North Korea and Iran, and strengthening of nuclear safeguards and security are all important and urgent issues. We support the government taking action on these issues.
However, in some areas the policies of Japanese governments have hitherto acted as a hindrance to international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. In order for Japan to show true leadership, these policies must be reconsidered and changed. We urge the Japanese Government to take concrete action on the following five points before the May 2010 Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
1. Declaration of Support for "No First Use"
The International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), for which Japan provides a secretariat office, is keen to recommend limiting the role of nuclear weapons by adopting a nuclear "no first use" policy, but it is reported that the Japanese commissioner is resisting this. American experts warn that the Japanese stance on this issue is an obstacle to nuclear disarmament by the Obama Administration.
The Japanese Government should promptly make an official declaration of support for a nuclear no first use policy and demand that the United States adopt such a policy. By doing so, the Japanese Government will be able refute claims that it is an obstacle to nuclear disarmament and accelerate the disarmament process of nuclear-weapon states.
Continuing to cling to nuclear deterrence theory is in direct contradiction with realization of a world without nuclear weapons. Japan should move towards a security policy that is not dependent on nuclear weapons.
2. Declaration of Support for a Nuclear Weapons Convention
Until now, in its UN General Assembly Resolutions, the Japanese Government has talked of the ultimate goal of eliminating nuclear weapons, but has not supported the idea of a Nuclear Weapons Convention. If, however, in parallel with step by step measures towards nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, there is no clear and comprehensive approach towards the final goal, nuclear abolition will not be achieved. Last year UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, Ban Ki Moon announced a five-point proposal for nuclear disarmament that includes a recommendation for consideration of a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
At the UN General Assembly and the NPT Review Conference the Japanese Government should express its support for Ban Ki Moon's proposal and the commencement of negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
3. Political Statement regarding a Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone
In order to peacefully resolve the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula and to establish a security framework in Northeast Asia that is not dependent on nuclear weapons, the Japanese government should aim to establish a Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. Until now the Japanese Government has taken the position that the idea of a Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone is premature. The Japanese government should change its position, issue a political statement saying that it aims for a Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, and use the Six-Party talks to seek out a path toward negotiations to this end.
Working to create such a regional security mechanism would give life to Japan's Peace Constitution and enable Japan to withdraw from the nuclear umbrella. It would also represent an important contribution to the formation of the East Asian Community that the new government has proposed.
4. Reconsider Missile Defense Plan
The decision by the Obama Administration to cancel its plan to station a missile defense system in Eastern Europe has had a positive impact on nuclear disarmament negotiations between the United States and Russia.
In order to avoid a spiral of nuclear proliferation and arms racing in Northeast Asia, Japan must fundamentally reconsider the missile defense plan that it is pursuing with the United States. Japan should hold discussions with concerned countries, including the United States and China, and commence consideration of cooperative measures to reduce and eliminate the missile threats in Northeast Asia.
5. Reconsider Nuclear Fuel Cycle Policy
In regard to nuclear non-proliferation, in recent years there has been increasing international attention to strengthening restrictions on technology and material that can be diverted to nuclear weapons. In particular, the question of how to control plutonium and highly enriched uranium is an urgent problem.
Throughout the world there are voices of concern about Japan, which is the only non nuclear weapon state that reprocesses spent nuclear fuel to produce plutonium. So that Japan can truly contribute to nuclear non-proliferation, we demand that the government reconsider its nuclear fuel cycle policy.
The recent change of government occurred in the context of cries for politicians to take the lead in the formation of policy. Policy formation should not be left to a coterie of bureaucrats. Rather, policy should be formed by the elected representatives of the people following a process of open debate. We fervently hope that you, as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, will show true political leadership, take hold of the rudder and steer us towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Co-Director, Citizens' Nuclear Information Center
Secretary-General, Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs (Gensuikin)
Co-Director, Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition
Board Member, Japan Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms
Co-Director, Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition
Co-Director, Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (HANWA)
Secretary-General, Japan Council Against A- and H-Bombs (Gensuikyo)
Secretary-General, Japan Confederation of A- and H- Bombs Sufferers' Organization. (Nihon Hidankyo)
Nagasaki Citizens' Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
Chair, Organizing Committee of the Nagasaki Global Citizens' Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
As at October 15, 2009 the above petition had been signed by over 230 NGOs and individuals involved in the Japanese nuclear abolition movement.
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