Member of the Executive Committee, Women's International Democratic Federation
Secretary General, Japan Federation of Women's Organizations (Fudanren)
The Women's International Democratic Federation (WIDF) was founded in December 1945 with the aim of preventing the recurrence of war and the resurgence of fascism for the sake of well being of the women and children. Today, it rallies over 600 grassroots organizations of 106 countries. Its president Sylvie Jan, who took part in the 1999 World Conference, said that she was impressed to learn that the anti-bomb movement in Japan and the world was playing a significant role in the current international situation. I am secretary general of the Japan Federation of Women's Organizations (Fudanren) and a member of the executive committee of the WIDF and I am very honored to speak here on its behalf.
The UN special session "2000 Women's Conference " was held in June last year. Since the International Year of Women in 1975, the movement centered on the U.N. for gender equality and the advancement of women has carried as one of its main objectives the establishment of peace. In recent years, however, while the task of the empowering women has been placed at the forefront, other demands including the elimination of nuclear weapons and reduction of military spending, have tended to be toned down. We would say that the NGOs can and should play a bigger role in stressing the need to pursue these tasks.
The "Women's World March against Poverty and Violence", an NGO initiative deployed on a global scale, was participated in by 6000 organizations from 160 countries, as well as international organizations such as the WIDF, which played an active role in it. Japanese women's organizations in particular, called for the elimination of war as the biggest violence against humanity, organized popular actions around the main themes of the prevention of war, elimination of nuclear weapons and protection of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. They were a focus of public attention in the concluding action that took place in New York in October last year.
This year, in Japan, we have launched a campaign called "the Year of the Constitution of Women" on the basis of the wide-spread concerted actions consolidated through the process of the Women's March, for the establishment of peace in Asia and the world by implementing Article 9 everywhere. We are now working on a campaign to send one million postcards to Prime Minister Koizumi protesting his plan to revise Article 9 of the Constitution. At the present moment, we are focusing our energy on the protest against the new history textbook that glorifies Japan's aggression and colonial rule of Asian countries and denies the existence of sex slaves made to serve Japanese military. We are also focusing on the protest against the Prime Minister's planned visit to Yasukuni Shrine. I am pleased to inform you that these initiatives are supported by the WIDF affiliates in different countries. Please refer to the statement on the history textbook for the "Year of the Constitution of Women."
On the basis of the decision taken by its executive committee meeting last June, the WIDF sent a letter to the U.N. and the governments of the nuclear powers requesting them to commence international negotiations for the elimination of nuclear weapons. In order to strengthen grassroots actions organized by the WIDF affiliates around the world in solidarity with this year's World Conference, we use the A-bomb photo panels produced by Gensuikyo and the Appeal from Hiroshima and Nagasaki for signature collection. For example, a Palestinian Women's organization which is fighting for a peaceful solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict based on the relevant U.N. resolutions has taken up an anti-nuclear campaign saying that "the use of nuclear weapons in the Middle East will undermine all efforts for peace."
Today, a wide range of actions aimed at
eliminating war and other conflicts whose first victims are women and children
are taking place in every corner of the globe, as well as actions against
environmental destruction and violations of human rights of women.
I believe that the movement for isolating the pro-nuclear forces and eliminating
nuclear weapons will be more effective if it succeeds in strengthening
the solidarity with these
different actions in various fields. It is my resolve to develop the international women's movement by working to build more on the advances and achievements of the grassroots actions in different countries.
Let us work together.