International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)
We are meeting at the World Conference
against A & H Bombs to mark a historic first step in this century
towards getting our planet free of the
terror of nuclear weapons.
First, international opinion against nuclear weapons is on the rise. Calls for nuclear weapons to be abolished are heard everywhere in the world. One good example is the Final Report adopted at the NPT Review Conference in April and May, 2000. In that document, all nuclear weapons possessing countries agreed to an unequivocal commitment to eliminate all of their nuclear arsenals. Last autumn, in a move to endorse this "unequivocal undertaking to eliminate nuclear arsenals," the United Nations Millennium Assembly adopted by an overwhelming majority a resolution proposed by "New Agenda Coalition" countries. In May last year, representatives of more than 1,000 non-governmental organizations from 100 countries met at the Millennium Forum at United Nations headquarters and adopted the unanimous final declaration calling for the abolition of all nuclear weapons. Amid growing international calls for a nuclear-free world, the task now is for us to work out practical and steady ways to achieve the complete abolition of nuclear weapons.
Second, the need to deal with the adverse currents trying to check anti-nuclear weapon opinion. That is about moves going against international opinion that seeks to get nuclear weapons abolished. We must let the people of the world know about these moves and publicly condemn them.
Number one. We should look at the
U.S. Bush administration. Established in January, the new U.S. administration
is pushing on with the
national missile defense program, which represents its dangerous policy of arms buildup, which involves nuclear weapons. It is has also expressed its refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-ban Treaty, while at the same time developing low-yield small nuclear weapons easier to use. We cannot forget even for a moment that about 30,000 nuclear warheads are held by the United States, Russia, Britain, France, and China on our planet.
Number two. The Japanese government is
the problem. In Japan, a new cabinet was established in April led
by Prime Minister Jun'ichiro Koizumi. Mr. Koizumi embodies Japan
as the United States' satellite as Mr. Chalmers Johnson points out in his
recent book "BLOWING BACK The Costs and Consequences of American Empire."
Mr. Koizumi is outspoken in his open submission to the United States. In
response to the U.S. request, he has called for Japan to exercise the right
to collective self-defense in defiance of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.
He has stated that he understands the U.S. missile defense program.
He has publicly expressed his willingness to visit Yasukuni Shrine as a
government official. And he even advocates abolishing or changing
the Constitution's Article 9 which pledges
that Japan rejects war as a means of settling international disputes. Maintaining his hawkish political stance, Prime Minister Koizumi is ready to help the United States develop its warmongering policy centered around nuclear force.
Prime Minister Koizumi's diplomacy was
a fiasco on the issue of the environment. In the autumn of 1997, in an
effort to protect the global
environment, the Kyoto Protocol on global warming was adopted after the painstaking efforts made by countries concerned. It was clear that the Protocol will come into effect if Japan ratifies it. But, in the recent summit talks with the U.S. president, the prime minister submissively endorsed the U.S. rejection of the Kyoto Protocol. This is another fiasco of Prime Minister Koizumi's diplomacy.
Japan is the only country to experience
the tragedy of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
Nevertheless, the Japanese government has accepted U.S. "nuclear umbrella"
and even allowed the stationing of U.S. forces on our soil with nuclear
capability under secret Japan-U.S. agreements. When an Okinawan woman was
raped recently by a U.S. soldier, the Japanese government showed a sneaking
attitude. Thus, the Japanese government goes against the international
call for nuclear weapons
to be abolished. We cannot tolerate such a subservient attitude of the government any longer.
Number three. The U.S. is developing new global strategy from the outer space. The United States' military strategy is one of deploying weapons and spy satellites in space. This is aimed at providing "information umbrella" in addition to the present "nuclear umbrella" to dominate the whole world.
I am very much interested to know what experts on this question might say. But I just would like you to pay attention to the danger that "information umbrella" will assume a role of the law enforcement officer in the course of economic globalization and that it will be closely connected with nuclear strategy through the "missile defense" plans.
These are part of adverse currents that
stand in the way toward the abolition of nuclear weapons. The task is for
us to stand firmly against
Third, activities in Asia as well as Japan for peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons. The North-South summit on the Korean Peninsula in June 2000 and the signing of the Treaty on Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free zone as well as the establishment of a committee on this treaty are noteworthy peace and anti-nuclear movements in Asia. This is a trend which we should actively promote. In Japan, we must not slow down efforts to collect signatures in support of the "Appeal from Hiroshima and Nagasaki" and make more local governments declare nuclear weapon-free.
Fourth, the role of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and lawyers in general. In this World Conference I am representing the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) which is based in Brussels, Belgium. The IADL was founded in October 1946 in Paris. It is an advisory body to the U. N. Economic and Social Council. The IADL has always been in solidarity with the Japanese Movement against A & H Bombs led by the Japan Council against A & H Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo) . Last October, the IADL held its 15th Congress in cooperation with the American Association of Jurists in Havana. The congress elected Mr. Jitendra Sharma from India as IADL president and Mr. Beinusz Szmukler from Argentine as IADL general secretary. In the Congress, we adopted among others the following six resolutions which the Japanese delegation proposed.
1. For the world to become nuclear weapon-free
in the 21st century
2. Call for the dismantling of foreign military bases
3. For firm peace in East Asia
4. Call for democratic control over globalized multinational corporations
5. Protection of Dugongs
6. For success of 3rd Conference of Lawyers of Asia and the Pacific (COLAP III)
We know that the IADL needs to be stronger. However, as an NGO and in order to bring together lawyers throughout the world, the IADL must do all it can as an integral part of the movement to abolish nuclear weapons.
Lawyers have a particular role to let the people of the world know their clear legal view that nuclear weapons are in violation of the international law. On July 8 in 1996, the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) acknowledged with some conditions that the use of nuclear weapons is against law. Sri Lankan Judge Weeramantry in a minority opinion regreted about the ICJ's failure to pass a straightforward and clear decision that the use of nuclear weapons, or threat to use them, is against law in all circumstances without exception. He said that the World Court could have permanently settled this matter by taking a forceful and honest attitude. I believe Dr. Weeramantry is right and I support his position. The Japan Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms jointly with the Japan Federation of Bar Associations invited Judge Weeramantry to give a lecture at a meeting on July 31. I believe that our task is to make legitimate legal opinion known to the world. Nuclear weapons are against international law in light of positive law, and I would suggest that the U.N. adopts a treaty on nuclear weapons in order to block opposition to it. New York's The Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Weapons made a draft treaty in October 1996. Its text is available.
Next, under the IADL support, the Conference of Lawyers of Asian and the Pacific (COLAP) was held in New Delhi in 1985, and in Tokyo and Osaka in 1991. The 3rd Conference (COLAP III) will be held in Hanoi in October. The basic theme of COLAP III is "Peace, Human Rights, Development, and Progress in Asian Pacific Region under Globalization." COLAP III will also discuss the question of nuclear weapons abolition. I am confident that the 2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs will be successfull, and I will report the achievement of this World Conference to the IADL and the COLAP III.
Fifth, aid to and solidarity with Hibakusha. Finally, let me emphasize that the starting point of the movement for nuclear weapons abolition is the indescribable tragedy that took place 56 years ago when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were attacked with nuclear weapons. Also, the movement must take a hard look at damages caused by nuclear weapon tests and let them known to the people of all over the world. Survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bombs are aging. We must respect hibakusha's voices do everything possible for their assistance. It is much to be regretted that the government of Japan, the only atom-bombed country, gives hibakusha the cold shoulder. Matsuya Hideko, a Nagasaki hibakusha, filed five lawsuits in the last more than 10 years, and finally she won the Supreme Court ruling which said that her illnesses are caused by the A-bombing. Two hibakusha, Azuma Kazuo of Tokyo and Yasui Koichi of Hokkaido, are still fighting in courts.
Mr. Kwak Kwi Hoon, a South Korean Hibakusha, recently won an Osaka District Court ruling that the Japanese government suspension of health care benefit to him on the grounds he now lives in South Korea, is against the law. Mr. Kwi Hoon was entitled to receive the benefit under the Hibakusha Aid Law until he returned to South Korea. The court upheld the claim Mr. Kwak Kwi Hun made for damages. But the central government and Osaka prefectural government appealed to a higher court. In most lawyers' opinion, the Osaka District Court ruling was indisputable in most lawyers' opinion and the appeal by the central government and the Osaka government is outrageous. This lawsuit is internationally important and we firmly support him.
At any rate, aid for hibakusha, who include
victims of nuclear tests, nuclear weapon development, and nuclear power
plants, is one of the
fundamental objectives of the World Conference against A & H Bombs along with the prevention of nuclear war and the abolition of nuclear weapons. Together shall we achieve the objective. No more Hiroshimas, no more Nagasakis, no more hibakusha.