Japan and the World Must Double Nuclear Disarmament Efforts

Japan and the World Must Double Nuclear Disarmament Efforts
RfP Japan DeliverJoint Statementwith Parliament Group to Government

Representatives from Religions for Peace(RfP)Japan and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) Japan handed a Joint Statement for the abolition of nuclear weapons to Keisuke Suzuki, a State Minister for Foreign Affairs on May 11 at the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo, calling Japanese government to engage in a broad debate on the credibility of its nuclear deterrence policies.

RfP Japan and PNND Japan had initially intended to release the Statement before the opening of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference which had to be held at UN Headquarters in New York in late April to May. The conference was postponed due to the pandemic of the novel coronavirus, and the two organizations were worried that the postponement would discourage the effort of the international society to nuclear arms reduction. They were also deeply concerned about the deteriorated situation of nuclear weapons. So, the two groups decided to issue the Statement.

In the past, RfP Japan and PNND Japan published their joint statement in 2015 and 2019, both in connection to the NPT Review Conferences.

The Joint Statement was adopted by representatives of the two organizations on April 27 at a meeting in Tokyo. Twelve PNND members, including State Minister Suzuki (LDP), Representative Shoichi Kondo (PNND Vice-Chair, CDP), were physically present at the meeting, while nine representatives from RfP, including Rev. Mitsuaki Takami (Archbishop of Nagasaki), Rev. Kenichiro Nakamura (Task Force Director for the Ratification of The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons), Mr. Kimiaki Tokumasu, President of the Japan Muslim Association and a member of the Task Force, joined online.

The Joint Statement recalls that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It expresses deep concern about the nuclear weapons buildup of today, despite the efforts of the A-bomb survivors to reduce the WMDs. It also alarms against the standstill of multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations, blaming the self-centered policies of certain countries.

On the other hand, the Statement praised Pope Francis’s visit to Nagasaki and Hiroshima last November and the Declaration of the 10th RfP World Conference in Lindau, Germany for "arousing the sympathy of the global citizens for the abolition of nuclear weapons and sending a message to the political leaders around the world that the existence of nuclear weapons is an absolute evil.”

The Statement poses a grave question about the nuclear deterrence policy of the Japanese government. It calls for a broad-based debate over the credibility of the policy. “We must verify what kind of nuclear policy is necessary to protect the lives of people,” it insists.

“The international community is expecting Japan, the only country to suffer from nuclear weapons during the war, to support the treaty,” says the Statement regarding the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It strongly urges the Japanese government to participate as an observer to the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, which will be convened within one year of its entry into force.

Joint Statement by RfP Japan and PNND Japan