International Meeting
2001 World Conference against A and H Bombs
Yasuo Ogata
Member, Committee of Chairpersons
Organizing Committee of World Conference Against A and H Bombs
Director of Japanese Communist Party International Bureau
House of Councilors Member

The foremost characteristics of the present situation regarding the problem of the nuclear weapons are as follows: on the one hand, as a result of the international struggle and international public opinion, important progress towards the elimination of nuclear weapons has been achieved, but on the other hand, in open defiance of this there is a growing counter current from the forces clinging to nuclear weapons.

The U.S. Bush administration, since it came into office in January this year, is giving a clear message about its intention to pursue overwhelming superiority in the area of nuclear weapons, in the name of "unilateralism."  It not only presents a serious threat to humanity in relation to international peace and the global environment, but creates conflict with its NATO allies.  The struggle of peace-loving forces calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons has become all the more important.

The NPT Review Conference in May 2000 agreed unanimously, including the U.S. government, on "an unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals."  This was an important achievement, resulting from the efforts of the governments of the nonaligned countries, "New Agenda Coalition" and ASEAN member countries as well as NGO movements, eloquently demonstrating that the immediate elimination of the nuclear arsenals is the majority view at the level of international politics including the United Nations.  Also, the UN General Assembly since last year has adopted a resolution calling for the elimination of the nuclear arsenals "within a time-bound framework," giving another sign of the progress made in international politics and public opinion.

However, the Bush administration is trying to block and roll back this current towards the elimination of the nuclear arsenals. President Bush remarked, that nuclear weapons still have a vital role to play for our security and that of our allies (May 1, 2001 at the National Defense University, U.S.).  He has put forth the "missile defense" plan.

This is an attempt to paralyze the ballistic missiles of other countries and gain a free hand for U.S. nuclear attacks.  It will strengthen the U.S. exclusive capability of the first use of nuclear weapons.  It is no less than a hegemonic desire to intimidate and rule the world by means of incomparable, absolute superiority in the nuclear system.

Even NATO member countries criticize this high-handed behavior of the Bush administration, because it will cause another flare up of the nuclear arms race.  It faces criticism from people all over the world, including protests of a type never before seen in the United States itself.  It is destined to deepen the contradiction in its own position and to deepen its isolation from the rest of the world.
Many number of countries in last year's UN General Assembly, called for the principles and objectives of UN Charter to be observed.  This indicates that criticism is growing of the narrow U.S. policy of putting its national interests first and foremost.  The U.S.s' outrageous behavior, such as U.S.-led globalization and its backpeddaling on its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol on combating global warming, have drawn criticism from all over the world.
Having a long history and tradition, the World Conference has enjoyed effective representation from both governments and NGOs.  It is the best and biggest forum for the government and NGO movements to jointly appeal to the world's people and to show the course to be taken on the tasks for peace, including the elimination of nuclear weapons. With this pride and spirit, let us carry on the struggle to internationally isolate the forces clinging to nuclear weapons, headed by the U.S.
Back to Japan, it is a serious state of affairs when the government of the only A-bombed country, turns its back on the elimination of nuclear weapons.  In June this year, representatives of the Japan Council against A & H Bombs (Gensuikyo) and I had a discussion for an hour with a director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  He persisted in the position that only nuclear deterrence can guarantee peace.  The Koizumi cabinet expressed its understanding of the U.S. "missile defense" plan.  It also defended the U.S. position on the "Kyoto Protocol," and the media described Prime Minister Koizumi as "wholeheartedly pro-U.S."

Moreover, the Koizumi cabinet reconfirmed the official approval of the history textbook which regards the war of aggression carried out by the Japanese army as "correct."  Prime Minister Koizumi declared that he would visit and worship at Yasukuni Shrine, which enshrines war criminals.  The Japanese government takes the position that the war of aggression carried out at the sacrifice of 20 million Asian people was correct.  It is clear that this position cannot but deepen conflict with the Asian nations, the victims of Japan's aggression and occupation, who are now expanding the current for peace, and the elimination of nuclear weapons.

At this World Conference, the first in the 21st century, we will pledge to do our utmost: Not to allow the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to be repeated; to struggle for the realization, as soon as possible, of the elimination of nuclear weapons, which is the burning desire of the human race; to strengthen solidarity with the governments and people's movements of Asia and the world who have severely criticized the war responsibility of Japanese militarism; and to further extend the current for peace and for the elimination of nuclear weapons.