Declaration of the 2018 World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs

2018 World Conference against A and H Bombs 2018 World Conference against A and H Bombs

Between August 2 and August 4, an international conference of 200 Japanese and foreign participants was held in Hiroshima.  It concluded August 4 with the adoption of the attached resolution.       

The atomic bombs used by the United States of America on August 6 and 9, 73 years ago brought on the unprecedented tragedies to Hiroshima and Nagasaki that the humans had ever experienced in history. The two cities were totally ruined in an instant, and the lives of some 210,000 people were lost by the end of the year. The Hibakusha who barely survived the moment have been tormented by the after-effects of the bombs, including radiation. The nuclear weapons, which cause catastrophic humanitarian consequences, should never be used again for any reason whatsoever. Assembled here in Hiroshima, we decry that nuclear weapons remain the greatest threat to the survival of the human race and therefore call for actions to completely eliminate them without any further delay.

Our friends in Hiroshima, who were hit by the recent record-breaking heavy rain, made determined and dedicated efforts to make this conference possible, while at the same time engaged in the relief and recovery work in the extreme heat. We express our deep appreciation and unlimited solidarity to them for these efforts.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) adopted by the UN conference on July 7, 2017 marked a historic step forward towards a world without nuclear weapons. During the year since then, civil society movements, including Hibakusha, joined forces with governments that support the treaty to make headway toward achieving the total abolition of nuclear weapons on the strength of the TPNW.

With the TPNW open for signature and ratification, conflicts between the countries that stand in favor and those that resist and oppose it are getting sharper.   

Nuclear powers, claiming that the “nuclear deterrence” is essential to global security and denouncing the TPNW, are modernizing their nuclear arsenals and strengthening their policy to use them. The Trump Administration reinforced its readiness to use nuclear weapons in its new “Nuclear Posture Review” and is promoting the development of low-yield nuclear weapons. The Putin Government of Russia, too, is developing new nuclear weapons, as well as the doctrine of the first use of its tactical nuclear weapons. The rekindled nuclear arms race between the two is evidence that the “nuclear deterrence” endangers security, and does not ensure it. The “unequivocal undertaking” of the “complete elimination of their nuclear arsenals”, which nuclear weapon states accepted in 2000 in the framework of the NPT, and the “special effort to establish the framework” for it agreed in 2010 should be honored.

The trend for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, however, is steadily growing as a mainstream in the world. Nothing can prevent the TPNW from entering into force. The nuclear powers’ resistance is neither firmly grounded nor has it any prospect for the future. It is evident that the doctrine of “nuclear deterrence” based on the assumption to actually use nuclear weapons, cannot but cause irrevocable damage to humanity. As seen in the voting results of the relevant UN resolutions, those who support the argument to regard nuclear weapons as necessary for their security are limited to the nuclear powers themselves and their allies. The nuclear deterrence doctrine is not persuasive and is further losing ground.

The key to advancing to “a world without nuclear weapons” is the development of public support and movement. The world is now keen to listen to the appeal of the Hibakusha, and the role of civil society in the international arena is dramatically increasing. If we build further on such cooperation between civil society and governments that led to the adoption of the TPNW, we can make headway by overcoming various obstacles. Many recent polls show that the majority of the citizens want their governments to join the TPNW, and large numbers of local governments and assemblies also urge its signing and ratification. It is particularly important to build up the movements and the public pressure in the countries possessing nuclear weapons or staying under the “nuclear umbrella”.

With the ROK-DPRK Summit and the US-DPRK Summit, the historic move toward the denuclearization and the establishment of a peace regime in the Korean Peninsula has started. We heartily welcome this development. The World Conference against A and H Bombs has consistently called for the peaceful settlement of the crisis. The present development is supported by the opinion of the people around the world for peace and against nuclear weapons. The driving force to complete this process also lies in public opinion. We call on all the parties concerned to engage in negotiations in good faith to reach the declared goals and to implement the points agreed. If the hostility beginning with the Korean War is ended and the North East Asia turned to a base of dispatch of messages for peace and denuclearization, its positive impact on the development of the whole Asia and the rest of the world will be immeasurable.

The creation and the consolidation of nuclear weapon-free zones and achieving the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty remain important. Convening of an international conference for the establishment of a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, unanimously resolved by the 1995 NPT Review Conference and further agreed by the 2010 NPT Review Conference, as well as achieving denuclearization and peace in the region is an urgent task. Given that the US Trump Administration has violated the JCPOA, the agreement with Iran, we will hold fast to calling for the diplomatic solution of the problem. The peaceful settlement of regional disputes is crucial to moving forward to “a world without nuclear weapons”. We call for a solution to the Palestinian issue based on the right to self-determination and justice. We further call for an end to the use of force and military intervention in Syria and intensified diplomatic efforts to help achieve the settlement of the civil war through political dialogue.

We express our solidarity with the movement for a nuclear-free, peaceful Japan. Now more than ever Japan is urged to play the role befitting the only A-bombed country. The Government of Japan, however, is eliciting both disappointment and criticism by staunchly opposing the TPNW. It should sign and ratify the treaty immediately. The problem at the root of this attitude is its deep reliance on the so-called “nuclear umbrella”, the extended nuclear deterrence provided by the United States. As the country that knows the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan should firmly refuse the policy that assumes the use of nuclear weapons. The build-up of US bases in Japan, forced to proceed under the pretext of the “threat of North Korea” should stop immediately. We express our solidarity to the people of Okinawa and demand that the ongoing plan of constructing a new US base at Henoko, which infringes the dignity of the Okinawan people, should be scrapped immediately. Diplomacy based on and honoring Article 9 of the Constitution, which declares the renunciation of war and the possession of war potentials, is the right way to join the current for peace in Asia and the rest of the world.

To respond to the desire of the Hibakusha for seeing a world without nuclear weapons in their lifetime, and to actually move the world in that direction, building the public support and the movement is now all the more important. To defeat the “nuclear deterrence” doctrine, the key is to reveal the inhuman nature of nuclear weapons. It is crucial for the Hibakusha and civil society, together with younger generation, to urgently appeal for the achievement of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons while endeavoring to make the damage and aftereffects of the A-bombings widely known.

In addition to urging national governments to join the TPNW, we must expand our cooperation with various other movements as well as the efforts made on the governmental level, thus further developing cooperation between civil society movements and governments.

Now is the time to build a grand-scale movement to open a wide path to “a nuclear weapon-free world”, overcoming the resistance of pro-nuclear forces. While pressing for the earliest possible entry into force of the TPNW, in view of the 2020 NPT Review Conference, let us urge the five nuclear weapon states to implement all the agreements they have thus far accepted and fulfill their responsibility and obligations under Article 6 to conduct nuclear disarmament negotiations. Following Pyeongchang, the Olympic Games will take place in Asia in succession (Tokyo 2020 in summer and Beijing 2022 in winter). Let us use these opportunities to build a peace regime in North East Asia, as well as a nuclear weapon-free Korean Peninsula, to make this region a foundation for sending out messages for a peaceful world free of nuclear weapons.

We propose the following actions around the world:

– With the international campaign to collect hundreds of millions of signatures in support of the Hibakusha Appeal by 2020, the 75th year of the atomic bombing, as our core action, let us develop a variety of actions and international cooperation calling for a nuclear weapon- free world. Many more opportunities should be created to exhibit A-bomb photo panels and hear the testimonies of the Hibakusha, combining them with nuclear disarmament actions planned in each country. Let us plan international joint actions on such occasions as the disarmament deliberations of the 73rd Session of the UNGA (from September through December 2018) and the Third PrepCom (April-May 2019 in New York) of the 2020 NPT Review Conference.

– For the relief and solidarity with the Hibakusha, we support their demand for justice and the State compensation. We support the nuclear test victims in their demand for international relief. We call for relief to the victims of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi NPP accidents and for all other nuclear victims.  We will work in solidarity with the movement demanding ZERO nuclear power plants. Let us support the victims of the Agent Orange, depleted uranium, chemical weapons and other war victims.

     – Let us call for the peaceful settlement of regional conflicts. Let us unfold actions for the drastic cut in military expenditures and for the reduction and dismantling of foreign military bases.

     – Let us expand solidarity and cooperation with movements for environmental protection, to stop global warming, eradication of poverty and the social gap, improvement of the living standards and social welfare, an end to all forms of discrimination and realization of gender equality and social justice, and for the protection of human rights and democracy.

The adoption of the TPNW demonstrates that the world is moving from the superpower domination to a new era where all nations will decide on common issues facing the world on an equal footing. It will be the era where civil society will be able to contribute to the solution of internationally important problems by forming public opinion.  With deep conviction on such developments, let us move forward to achieving a world without nuclear weapons.