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Dispatches from Nagasaki No.18

The Reaction in Nagasaki to the UN’s Adoption of a Resolution for Negotiations on a Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons

On October 27, 2016 (local time), at a meeting of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) of the United Nations General Assembly held at UN headquarters in New York, a draft resolution on “Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations” was approved by a majority vote of 123 in favor to 38 against, with 16 abstentions. In spite of repeated requests from atomic-bombed cities, Japan, which is the only country to have suffered atomic bombings during wartime, voted against the resolution, in line with the United States and other nuclear states, and many other countries dependent on the “nuclear umbrella.”

Previous to the meeting of the First Committee, Mr. Kazumi Matsui, Mayor of Hiroshima City, and Mr. Tomihisa Taue, Mayor of Nagasaki City, submitted a joint request to Fumio Kishida, Minister of Foreign Affairs, asking the Japanese government to show strong leadership during 2017 in the commencement of negotiations to prohibit nuclear weapons (http://nagasakipea ce.jp/japanese/abolish/protest/kogi_list/79.html). When reports came through on October 27 that Japanese government may vote against the resolution, Mayor Taue sent an urgent request to Minister Kishida warning him that “a vote by Japan against the resolution would create problems for future generations (http://nagasakipeace.jp/japanese/abolish/protest/kogi_list/80.html).” After receiving news the next day of the voting results, Mayor Taue sent a request to the Minister for the third time, saying that “opposition to the resolution by Japan would be a betrayal of the sincere hope of hibakusha, and the cities that experienced nuclear bombing, for the realization of a world without nuclear weapons. It would trample on endeavors made thus far by such cities for the elimination of nuclear weapons and that the nuclear-bombed city of Nagasaki could not overlook this betrayal.” and “This opposition to the resolution would seriously damage any trust the international community had in Japan while being an utter disappointment for the many countries aiming for the elimination of nuclear weapons.” As well as his harsh judgement, Mayor Taue also urged the Japanese government to vote affirmatively at the General Assembly scheduled in December and also urged Japan to participate in the treaty negotiations by taking an active role (http://nagasakipeace.jp/japanese/abolish/protest/kogi_list/81.html). In accordance with a decision made at the 6th Japanese Member Cities Meeting of Mayors for Peace, Mr. Matsui, Mayor of Hiroshima City and also the President of Mayors for Peace, visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 24 and submitted a Letter of Request for Prime Minister Abe signed jointly by Mayors Matsui and Taue (Vice President of Mayor for Peace). As well as referring to the voting against the resolution as “the betrayal of the sincere hopes of hibakusha and extremely regrettable,” a request was made for the Japanese government to make diplomatic endeavors to facilitate constructive discussion about the negotiations by all United Nation member states (http://www.mayorsforpeace.org/jp/activites/statement/request/161124_jp/index.html).

Due to Japanese government’s vote against the resolution this time, hibakusha in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who have continually appealed for the elimination of nuclear weapons, expressed strong feelings of disappointment and anger. Dr. Hideo Tsuchiyama, former President of Nagasaki University, said “Japanese government’s vote was a shameful example of its docile subservience to the United States.” He expressed his anger by saying that “although Japan states that it is the only country to have suffered atomic bombings in wartime, actually the country’s actions are not aimed towards the elimination of nuclear weapons; instead, they are going against the current of the times” (Mainichi Shimbun, October 29, 2016). The civil society organization, the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Testimonial Society, which is made up mostly of hibakusha and which has been continuing to compile testimonies for about forty years, sent a letter of protest Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Kishida. This letter of protest refutes as groundless the claims that the Japanese government has repeatedly given as reasons for not advancing the legal prohibition of nuclear weapons such as “it would deepen divisions between nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states,” or that “even if a treaty, which nuclear states would oppose, were made, it would not have any effectiveness.” Furthermore, the letter voices strong criticism by saying that “Japan voted that way because of fears that the ‘nuclear umbrella’ would become a ’broken umbrella‘ and so the vote was representative of the Japanese government’s strong intention to try to stem the international tide in favor of prohibiting nuclear weapons.” (The letter of protest will be posted on the website of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Testimonial Society in its entirety, at a later date (http://www.nagasaki-heiwa.org/n3/t3/katsudou.html).

On November 25, representatives of Nagasaki hibakusha including Mr. Sumiteru Taniguchi, President of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors Council; Dr. Masao Tomonaga, Honorary Director of the Japanese Red Cross Nagasaki Genbaku Hospital; representatives of Hiroshima hibakusha; representatives of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organization, a nationwide Hibakusha organization; and people from the Japan Promotion Committee for the Hibakusha Appeal for a nuclear ban treaty visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together to lodge a protest about the stance of the Japanese government and to demand a more active attitude towards the establishment of a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. Following that visit, an emergency meeting was held in the Members’ Office Building of the House of Councillors, to request that the government vote in favor of the resolution to prohibit nuclear weapons (Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors Council Newsletter No.398 http://www1.cncm.ne.jp/~hisaikyo/).

The dilemma regarding elimination of nuclear weapons and dependence on nuclear deterrence has also become an issue in Nagasaki, a city that has suffered nuclear bombing. On December 21, a proposal to protest Japanese government’s vote against the UN First Committee resolution was voted down by a majority in the Nagasaki prefectural assembly. Assemblymen who voted against it said “Japanese government has actively pursued diplomacy in favor of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. This is just a different approach, and is the same as aiming for a world without nuclear weapons. We cannot approve of something [a protest] with a title and content that looks like the government is not aiming for elimination of nuclear weapons.” (Asahi Shimbun, December 22.)

The dilemma regarding elimination of nuclear weapons and dependence on nuclear deterrence has also become an issue in Nagasaki, a city that has suffered nuclear bombing. On December 21, a proposal to protest Japanese government’s vote against the UN First Committee resolution was voted down by a majority in the Nagasaki prefectural assembly. Assemblymen who voted against it said “Japanese government has actively pursued diplomacy in favor of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. This is just a different approach, and is the same as aiming for a world without nuclear weapons. We cannot approve of something [a protest] with a title and content that looks like the government is not aiming for elimination of nuclear weapons.” (Asahi Shimbun, December 22.)

 

「核兵器禁止条約交渉」国連決議の採択に対する長崎の反応

 

2016年10月27日(現地時間)、ニューヨーク国連本部で開催されていた国連総会第一委員会(軍縮・安全保障)は、賛成123、反対38、棄権16の賛成多数で決議案「多国間核軍縮交渉を前進させる」を通過させた。被爆地からの再三の要請にもかかわらず、唯一の戦争被爆国である日本は、米国などの核保有国や「核の傘」依存国の国々の多くと足並みをそろえる形でこの決議案に反対票を投じた。

第一委員会の開幕に先立っては、9月15日、広島市の松井一實市長、長崎市の田上富久市長が連名で岸田文雄外務大臣あてに要請書を提出し、2017年中の禁止条約交渉開始に向け強いリーダーシップを発揮するよう日本政府に求めていた(http://nagasakipeace.jp/japanese/abolish/protest/kogi_list/79.html)。日本が反対する可能性が報じられた10月27日には、田上市長が外務大臣あての「緊急要請」を発し、決議案への反対は「未来の世代に禍根を残す」と警鐘を鳴らした(http://nagasakipeace.jp/japanese/abolish/protest/kogi_list/80.html)。その翌日、投票結果を受けて田上市長はみたび外務大臣に要請文を送り、「(日本の反対は)『核兵器のない世界』の実現という被爆者、そして被爆地の切なる願いに背き、これまで被爆地が取り組んできた核兵器廃絶への努力を踏みにじるものであり、被爆地長崎としては決して看過できない」「国際社会の信頼を著しく損ない、核兵器廃絶を目指す多くの国を失望させるもの」と厳しく断じるとともに、日本政府が12月予定の国連総会本会議で賛成票を投じること、また、条約交渉において日本が参加し、積極的な役割を担うことを強く求めた(http://nagasakipeace.jp/japanese/abolish/protest/kogi_list/81.html)。また、11月24日には、「第6回平和首長会議国内加盟都市会議総会」での決定に基づき、平和首長会議会長である広島市長らが外務省を訪問し、広島市長、長崎市長(平和首長会議副会長)らによる連名の安倍首相宛要請文を手渡した。要請文は日本の反対について「被爆者の切実な思いに背くものであり極めて遺憾」とし、交渉において「全ての国連加盟国により建設的な議論」が行われるよう日本政府に外交努力を求めるものであった(http://www.mayorsforpeace.org/jp/activites/statement/request/161124_jp/index.html)。

今回の日本の反対投票に対して、核兵器廃絶を訴え続けてきた広島、長崎の被爆者の間には強い失望と怒りが広がった。土山秀夫・元長崎大学長は「対米従属の最たるもので情けない。『唯一の戦争被爆国』と言いながら、実際には核廃絶に向けた行動が伴わないどころか時代に逆行している」と憤りを示した(毎日新聞、2016年10月29日)。10月31日、主に被爆者で構成され、約40年にわたって被爆証言の聞き取りを続けている市民団体「長崎の証言の会」は安倍晋三首相と岸田外相に宛てて抗議文を送った。この抗議文は、日本政府が核兵器の法的禁止を進めるべきでない理由として繰り返し掲げてきた「核兵器国と非核兵器国の分断を深める」「核兵器国が反対する条約を作っても実効性がない」といった主張には根拠がないと論駁するとともに、「(反対を投じたのは)核の傘が『破れ傘』になることへの恐れから、核兵器禁止の国際的潮流をせき止めようとする日本政府の強い意思の表れ」と強く非難した(抗議文全文については後日「長崎の証言の会」のウェブサイトhttp://www.nagasaki-heiwa.org/n3/t3/katsudou.htmlに掲載予定)。

11月25日、長崎原爆被災者協議会(長崎被災協)の谷口稜曄会長、日本赤十字長崎原爆病院の朝長万左男名誉院長ら長崎の被爆者代表は、広島の被爆者代表、被爆者の全国組織である日本被団協、そして「『ヒバクシャ国際署名』連絡会の関係者らとともに外務省を訪問し、日本政府の姿勢に抗議するとともに、禁止条約制定に向けた積極姿勢を要求した。この要請行動に続いては、禁止条約決議に賛成するよう求める緊急院内集会を参議院議員会館で開催した(長崎被災協「事務局便り」No.398 http://www1.cncm.ne.jp/~hisaikyo/)。

核廃絶と核抑止依存のジレンマは被爆地においても表面化している。12月21日、長崎県議会は日本の反対投票に抗議する意見書を反対多数で否決した。反対した議員からは「日本は軍縮・核不拡散外交を積極的に展開してきた。アプローチの違いで、核なき世界を目指しているのは同じ。政府が核廃絶を目指していないかのようなタイトルや内容には賛同できない」という声があがったという(朝日新聞、12月22日)。

12月24日、国連総会本会議は10月に第一委員会を通過した決議を賛成多数(賛成113、反対35、棄権13)で採択した。日本政府はふたたび反対票を投じ、被爆地においては市民の落胆の声が広がった。長崎市長は同日のコメントで「(決議採択は)悲惨な体験を二度と世界の誰にも経験させてはならないと、核兵器廃絶を訴え続けてきた被爆者や被爆地にとって、新しい大きな流れ」であると歓迎の意を示すとともに、「今後、核保有国と『核の傘』の下にある国々を含むすべての国が交渉に参加し、核兵器のない世界に向けて英知を結集」するよう期待を述べ、被爆国日本の担うべき重要な役割をあらためて強調した(http://www.city.nagasaki.lg.jp/syokai/710000/713000/p029247.html)。

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