¡ Japan Update
Postal Address: Hiyoshi Gruene
102, 3-3-1, Minowa-cho, Kohoku-ku, Yokohama, 223-0051
It is not easy for an author to summarize another's views, especially views which the author finds inherently self-contradictory. The following is an account that is the result of such an attempt by the present authors. We have extracted typical questions and answers from discussions between Japanese citizens and officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Japan, regarding the Government of Japan's (GOJ) nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation policy. Since the Tokyo Forum for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament convened by the GOJ in 1998, discussions have taken place at five NGO meetings attended by guest speakers from the Arms Control and Disarmament Division of MOFA. Where necessary, comments by the authors follow the Q and A.
Q1. Why did the Government of Japan (GOJ) abstain from voting on the New Agenda Resolution in the UN General Assembly?
A1. There are two reasons. One is that Japan, though it shares the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world, takes a different approach from the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) countries. We need to have the cooperation of the nuclear weapon states and it is not necessarily constructive to take a confrontational attitude vis-a-vis these states. The last resolution, though improved, still betrays a degree of skepticism towards the commitment of the nuclear weapon states.
The other reason is that Japan, as a country that relies on the U.S. nuclear deterrent for its national security, cannot support proposed intermediate measures, such as no-first-use, which might reduce the effectiveness of that deterrent.
Q2. We cannot understand why Japan, the only country which has been devastated by the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and witnessed the Hibakusha's tragic deaths and damaged lives, relies on nuclear weapons for national security. You are, in effect, creating more Hibakusha.
A2. The government fully understands the terrible experiences and the inhumane nature of the A and H bombs; however, the international security circumstances surrounding Japan are quite severe. The GOJ embraces the ideal and goal of nuclear abolition, but at the same time, in practice, it cannot help but rely upon security policies which include nuclear deterrence. We sincerely invite citizens to understand the practical challenges we face in the real world of international relations.
(Authors' comments) We don't believe the GOJ's claim that it "fully understands the terrible experiences and the inhumane nature of A and H bombs." Full understanding of the "inhumane nature of A and H bombs" should naturally lead to an analysis of the legality of nuclear weapons based upon international law. One of the fundamental principles of the foreign policy of the GOJ is respect for the UN system. But, the GOJ has never respected the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN's paramount legal body.
In addition, it is not at all clear what accounts for the perceived severity in the international security circumstances surrounding Japan. If any security consideration really matters regarding nuclear weapons, why didn't Japan move to substantially lessen the role of nuclear weapons in its security policy at the end of the Cold War when the claimed threat of the former Soviet Union and China had been drastically reduced? We have never seen any Japanese initiatives in this direction.
Q3. What is the difference between Japan and the NAC countries regarding international security circumstances?
A3. Japan has been located at the front line of the Cold War, with Russia and China nearby. It can be said that the situation is much more severe than that of NAC countries such as New Zealand or Sweden.
Q4. You cannot condemn India and Pakistan for developing nuclear weapons, while at the same time insisting on the necessity of nuclear weapons for Japan's national security.
A4. India and Pakistan should be condemned for not participating in the NPT regime, which is crucial for international peace and security. Without the NPT regime, the number of nuclear weapon states would increase dramatically. If the number increases, it would be more difficult for the current five Nuclear Weapon States (NWSs) to reduce their nuclear arsenals. This outcome would be contrary to international peace and security. If the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK), for instance, should have nuclear weapons upon the collapse of the NPT regime, Japan might have to consider possessing its own nuclear weapons for national security purposes.
(Authors' comments) The stated policy of Japan regarding India and Pakistan is to call upon them to accede to the NPT as Non-Nuclear Weapon States. Therefore, the logical consequence of Japan's policy is that it urges India and Pakistan to come under nuclear umbrellas of any of the five NWSs, just as Japan does. It then follows that a growing number of states would rely upon other states' nuclear weapons. This means that the role of nuclear weapons would grow as more targets become necessary to defend allies. The GOJ should realize that the desire for nuclear weapon possession itself and the demand for nuclear umbrellas have similarly destructive effects on nuclear disarmament.
Q5. Can Japan demand that the United States reduce its nuclear arsenal while at the same time requesting U.S. nuclear deterrence against alleged biological or chemical weapons of the DPRK?
A5. Japan can request the U.S. and the other NWSs to reduce their nuclear arsenals by an amount that does not affect U.S. nuclear deterrence upon which Japan relies.
(Authors' comments) The GOJ says that the acceleration of the START process is one of its priorities for nuclear disarmament. However, if Japan adheres to a first-use option against DPRK, this means, by implication, that it is asking the U.S. to maintain many nuclear targets. It then follows that Japan has to support the claim by the U.S. that it cannot reduce its arsenal if it is to remain able to respond the request of Japan as well as those of other allies. Therefore, the GOJ's nuclear weapons policy is self-contradictory.
Q6. Do you believe that the U.S. really uses nuclear weapons to protect Japan even though there is no doubt that the U.S. would be retaliated against by nuclear weapons?
A6. It is difficult to answer this question. While we understand that the international norm restricts the level of counter-attack because its intensity has to be proportionate to the intensity of the original attack, the option of nuclear weapons is still included within the framework of Japan-U.S. military cooperation.
(Authors' comments) We don't think that U.S. citizens will support the use of nuclear weapons for Japan's sake when it is obvious that the U.S. will be retaliated against by nuclear weapons.
Q7. Why don't you propose a Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) as an alternative security arrangement?
A7. The GOJ generally supports the creation and expansion of NWFZs. However, as for Northeast Asia, the international security circumstances are so severe that it is premature to consider such a NWFZ in this region.
(Authors' comments) The very initiation of a proposal to establish a NWFZ could contribute to the easing of tensions in this region. The GOJ appears to need regional tension in order to rationalize its development of Theater Missile Defense (TMD) and the advancement of other military capabilities.
Q8. Please explain the GOJ's position towards the upcoming NPT Review Conference.
A8. It is crucial that a document tentatively named, "Additional Objectives," which is built upon the Principles and Objectives (P&O) of 1995, be adopted by consensus at the Conference. The Additional Objectives is not to replace the P&O of 1995. There was some misunderstanding on the wording of "Updated Objectives" which was included in the Japanese resolution at the UNGA last year. Many countries abstained from that paragraph of the resolution because they thought that Japan didn't think much of the implementation of the P&O.
We can say that the conference would be successful if the Additional Objectives are adopted. If not, international trust in the NPT regime would be severely weakened. Japan is now carefully consulting with other countries on the wording of the Additional Objectives, but the contents will be as follows:
1. Promotion of the
ratification process and early entry into force of the
(Authors' comments) This is a continuation of the conservative "wish list" of Japan. There is no strong statement nor proposal to call upon the NWSs to fulfill their NPT Article 6 obligation. We welcome the GOJ's constant efforts to promote the entry-into-force of the CTBT and to facilitate the establishment of a Central Asia NWFZ.
Q9. The Additional Objectives should be discussed based on the serious review of record of the past five years. Without reviewing the record carefully, the adoption of a new document will result in a mere repetition of failures of the past five years.
A9. It is important to review the past, but we have to avoid a breakdown of the conference because of differences in the various evaluations of the past.
Q10. How will the recommendations of the Tokyo Forum Report be incorporated into the NPT Review Conference?
A10. The 1999 Japanese UNGA resolution incorporates the recommendations of the Tokyo Forum. The Additional Objectives will also adopt those elements.
(Authors' comments) The UNGA Japanese resolution failed to incorporate the key recommendations of the Tokyo Forum such as the reduction of U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear warheads down to 1,000 each, establishment of a permanent secretariat of the NPT, and restriction on the role of nuclear weapons to only the core function of deterring others' nuclear weapons.
Q11. How has Japan made efforts to advance U.S. nuclear disarmament policy before the NPT Review Conference?
A11. On March 8, Japan and the U.S. established the U.S.-Japan Commission on Arms Control, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Verification. In high-level discussion in the Commission, Japan honestly expressed its negative evaluation of the past five years' progress on nuclear disarmament. The U.S. said it shared the evaluation and agreed that the NPT RC was very crucial. There was various discussion on the Additional Objectives.
Q12. How does Japan work at CD?
A12. Negotiation of the FMCT is the priority. If the negotiation does not progress because of conflict over existing stockpiles, we need to restrict the scope of the treaty only to future production. China is not going to join the FMCT negotiations, insisting that the Ad Hoc Committee on PAROS (Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space) should be established at the same time. NAM is insisting on an Ad Hoc Committee on Nuclear Disarmament. It is regrettable that those countries do not show a sincere commitment to join the FMCT negotiation. As for nuclear disarmament, Japan is ready to accept the establishment of a working group on nuclear disarmament such as that proposed by five NATO countries.
(Authors' comments) The position of the GOJ is very unbalanced. The GOJ claims the FMCT is the priority. But the GOJ explains that China and NAM don't think it is the only priority, and thta they have other priorities: Nuclear Disarmament Committee and PAROS Committee, Just as the GOJ criticizes "those countries do not show a sincere commitment to join the FMCT negotiation," they would say "Japan does not show a sincere commitment to set-up nuclear disarmament committee and PAROS committee." We believe that the GOJ should develop proposals to advance these priorities in parallel. One logical approach is to place the FMCT as a priority theme of the established Ad Hoc Committee on Nuclear Disarmament. As long as the GOJ continues to stick to the line in which the FMCT will serve only to non-proliferation rather than to disarmament, the GOJ will continue to be regarded as a dummy of the United States.
(Akira KAWASAKI and Hiro UMEBAYASHI)
The Peace Depot welcomes comments on positions described
in this article.
Response from the Public
up to the Birth of the Campaign
1. To maintain a web-site
to publicize abolition activities of various
organizations and groups all around Japan, including
those of traditional national organizations and local
Abolition Week in Japan
February 26, Kawasaki City: A Public Meeting to celebrate the annual general assembly of the Peace Depot included a special speech by Rebecca Johnson on the NPT Review Conference. A summary of the talk has been printed and circulated by the Peace Depot as an educational resource for activists and journalists.
March 3, Tokyo: Women's groups organized a forum to hear Angie Zelter, a successful defendant in one of the Trident Plowshare court cases in Scotland, and to discuss ways to abolish nuclear weapons. The title of the forum was, "We Can Abolish Nuclear Weapons!"
March 4, Tokyo: An all-day event took place in Tokyo entitled, "Our Abolition Day! Symposium on Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone." In the morning Angie Zelter spoke about her non-violent direct action. In the afternoon there was a symposium to discuss approaches to establishing a Northeast Asia NWFZ, with panelists Hiro UMEBAYASHI (the Peace Depot), KIM Hong-Soo (Co-President, Union of Korean Youth in Japan), KIM Ji-Yong (Reporter, Choson-Shimbosa, A Japanese Newspaper Related to DPR of Korea), Mari KUSHIBUCHI (Co-Chair, the Peace Boat), and Masao KUNIHIRO (Former Senator), with the guest participation of Angie Zelter.
March 5, Tokyo: The code-named "Sunflower Operation -- A Street Performance" took place on the street during No-Car-Sundays, Shinjuku, Tokyo. Young anti-nuke people, called Nuclear Abolition Beni-Tengu, made a Sunflower objet d'art and had a live music performance. The sunflower is known as the symbol of the global network of Abolition 2000.
March 11, Nagasaki: A symposium was organized in Nagasaki as the first pre-event of the Global Citizen's Assembly in Nagasaki for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, which is reported about in the previous section of this Update. Robert Green (Middle Powers Initiative), Kate Dewes (Disarmament & Security Center), and Angie Zelter (Trident Plowshare) were invited to the Assembly as panelists. Japanese panelists were Hideo TSUCHIYAMA (Former President, Nagasaki University) and Masao TOMONAGA (Professor, Nagasaki University).
In addition to these activities which were specific to Global Abolition Week, many other actions took place to commemorate Bikini Day during the time period from February 29 to March 3 in Shizuoka and Tokyo. They were sponsored by Gensuikyo, Gensuikin, the Japanese Consumers' Cooperative Union and others. Also meetings related to Angie Zelter's speaking tour were held in many places other than those cited above, including Sapporo, Hakodate, Osaka, Saga, Hiroshima and Okinawa during the time period from March 3 to 15.
and Campaign Office
We have now entered the last year of the 20th Century.
It appears that humankind will carry into the 21st Century the same follies that it devised in the 20th Century. Nuclear weapons, which can incinerate hundreds of thousands of citizens in an instant, remain at the core of international politics. Over 30,000 nuclear warheads exist on this planet, with a significant number on hair-trigger alert. While the overwhelming majority of citizens, including those who live in nuclear weapons states, want a nuclear weapon-free world, the political process to bring this about has been ponderous and slow, with few substantial gains.
We believe that the Japanese people bear a special responsibility for this situation. We have listened closely to the hibakushas of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in their plea that, "Nuclear weapons should never be used!," as they speak about the hellish scenes branded on their eyes after the blast. For over a half century we have lived in a society that is dominated by fears that the physical and social after-effects of the atomic bombing can continue for generations. Do we as Japanese citizens not have a responsibility to use these experiences for the benefit of the future of the earth and of humanity?
Contrary to what we often hear, it is not true that there is no hope. Some middle-power governments stood together and took bold action in June, 1998. These governments, called the New Agenda Coalition, declared: "We, on our part, will spare no efforts" towards the abolition of nuclear weapons. Non-governmental groups (NGOs) around the world are encouraging these governments, and movements in which governments and NGOs cooperate are gaining strength. In addition, a model nuclear weapons convention, which NGOs drafted, has become an official UN document and has been circulated among governments.
Unfortunately, the Japanese government refused to join the New Agenda Coalition when it was invited to do so. The Japanese government continues to embrace nuclear deterrence doctrine and is obsessed with the idea of defending Japan with nuclear weapons.
Is the Japanese anti-nuclear sentiment, which must be stronger than that of any other peoples in the world, powerless? Does Japanese democracy not work? It is acknowledged that the Japanese anti-nuclear movement has sometimes created impediments within itself to achieving its goals over the past five decades. However, isn't it high time for us to call into being an overarching human ethos and create opportunities for Japanese citizens to once again speak to this critical issue in their own words?
At the dawn of a new century and a new millennium, we call upon the people of Japan to speak vigorously for nuclear abolition with a renewed purpose that goes beyond the differences often created by 'isms' and beliefs.
The first thing that we need to do is to change our own government's nuclear weapons policy. Toward this end, we have the following challenges:
1. To create a non-nuclear law in Japan
In addition to turning the three non-nuclear principles into a law, a security policy is needed in which Japan will not rely on nuclear weapons and come out from beneath the US nuclear umbrella. In addition, the current plutonium policy of Japan needs to be reviewed as it raises concerns about nuclear-proliferation.
2. To establish a nuclear weapon-free zone in Northeast Asia
The establishment of a nuclear weapon-free zone in Northeast Asia will be a significant step towards easing tension and building confidence in this region.
3. To activate nuclear free-local authorities
It is time for the more than 2,300 local authorities that have declared themselves to be nuclear-free to take action. Citizens must take steps to activate them.
4. To make the Government of Japan a leader in promoting nuclear disarmament in its international relations
Citizens in Japan need to urge the Government of Japan to play an active role in promoting nuclear disarmament in international diplomacy in cooperation with like-minded nations such as the New Agenda Coalition states.
We make an appeal to all the fellow citizens. Let us build an immense wave of support and activity for nuclear abolition in the year 2000, and inform the world what we have done. Please begin where you are. Each of your actions, as tiny as it may be, will make a change. Each of us, too, signs this '2000 People's Appeal' as one of those who commit to undertake such actions.
Some Names of Signatories to the 2000 Peoples' Appeal of International Interests
Call for an International NGO Conference in Nagasaki to
A fortunate convergence of two motivating forces for peace occurred in Nagasaki City where the second atomic bomb was dropped on August 9, 1945.
First, the Mayor of Nagasaki, who attended the Hague Appeal for Peace Conference in May 1999 to witness the empowering NGO activities for peace, has come to believe that it will be the concerted work of NGOs that will vigorously advance the cause of nuclear abolition. Subsequently, in his Peace Declaration on August 9, 1999, he emphasized the importance of NGO roles in future efforts for nuclear disarmament, and then he expressed his willingness to host a major international NGO assembly in Nagasaki in the year 2000 to demand nuclear abolition.
Second, long-term efforts by the Nagasaki Peace Institute, a citizen-based institute, to maintain a neutral relationship with various local citizen groups have made it possible to unite these groups for nuclear abolition conferences. A two-year test run of a non-partisan committee in Nagasaki to intervene in the Tokyo Forum for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament process ended successfully last year in cooperation with independent national NGOs, including the Peace Depot. This committee has now become "The Year 2000 Nagasaki Citizens' Council for Nuclear Weapons Abolition." It is a truly history-making coalition of the broadest range of Nagasaki citizen groups as it transcends the differences of 'isms' and beliefs. The primary objective of this coalition is to bring the Mayor's idea of international NGO Assembly for nuclear abolition into reality.
Each workshop is being organized by at least two convenors, one from overseas and one from Japan. In addition to the above workshops, the Organizing Committee intends to provide rooms for independent programs related to nuclear disarmament and encourages NGOs to bring their own plans.
The Japanese Parliamentary Association for the Promotion of International Disarmament (JPAPID)
April 13, 2000
1. The Japanese Parliamentary Association for the Promotion of International Disarmament (JPAPID) recognizes the need for preserving and further strengthening the NPT regime which has greatly contributed to international peace and security. It is regrettable that no significant progress has been made towards nuclear disarmament since the Treaty was indefinitely extended at the NPT Review and Extension Conference in 1995.
2. The success of the 2000 NPT Review Conference is crucial in maintaining and enhancing the credibility of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The failure of the Conference would only benefit those countries which have a hidden agenda against that regime. JPAPID calls upon all participating countries to contribute to the Conference in a cooperative manner.
3. The Conference should provide us with the prospect of the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons. And such a prospect is possible if participants renew their commitment to the early entry-into-force of the CTBT and the early conclusion of the Cut-Off Treaty within a fixed time frame. JPAPID calls upon the Japanese government to play an active, coordinating role in securing an agreement on further milestones towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and on the concrete progress to be made on these issues.
4. It is the hope of
JPAPID that the success of the Conference will contribute
to greater progress in the area of global nuclear
disarmament and non-proliferation.
Editor's Note: JPAPID
is a supra-partisan association which consists of 113
Diet Members at present. This resolution is very close to
the government's position and weak for disarmament.
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