Print Friendly and PDF

Dispatches from Nagasaki No.19

The 26th United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues: Reactions from Nagasaki

On December 12th and 13th, 2016, the 26th United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues was held in Nagasaki. It marked the third time that United Nations Conferences on Disarmament Issues have been held in Nagasaki. The conference was attended by Kim Won-soo, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs as well as approximately 30 overseas guests from more than 20 countries. Attendees from within Japan numbered more than one hundred including approximately 70 students from local high schools.

The purpose of this Conference is not for diplomatic negotiations but to provide a forum for foreign diplomats, government officials, and United Nations officials, as well as researchers and representatives of NGOs to engage in frank and open discussion on disarmament issues. However, many foreign diplomats and government officials attended this conference and some sessions seemed like a continuation of diplomatic meetings. At sessions regarding the current situation of nuclear disarmament negotiations and sessions regarding NPT, government officials from the United States and Russia were highly critical of the commencement of negotiations at the United Nations towards a nuclear weapons convention. In other sessions which handled regional issues, participants from Arab countries and participants from Israel fiercely opposed each other over the Middle East’s denuclearization. Such scenes as these, which have been repeated dozens of times at United Nations meetings, the NPT Review Conferences, the Conference on Disarmament, and so on, were repeated again in Nagasaki.

Nagasaki citizens who were listening to the proceedings seemed to be quite shocked by such scenes. Of course, up until now the citizens of Nagasaki have had many opportunities to listen to opinions expressed by foreign experts on nuclear disarmament at the many international conferences held in Nagasaki regarding nuclear disarmament, including those conferences held by RECNA. However, nearly all occasions were from the standpoint of actively promoting nuclear disarmament. This time many Nagasaki citizens expressed confusion after having been bombarded by views expressed by government officials from various countries favoring policies based on a realistic theory that gives priority to security from nuclear deterrents rather than the abolition of nuclear weapons. At this conference was Yoshiro Yamawaki, a survivor of the atomic bombing who spoke in English to the conference participants about his experiences. Mr. Yamawaki candidly expressed his doubts about the outcome of the conference, telling the Nagasaki Shimbun that: “The clash of opinion between nuclear powers, such as the United States and Russia, and non-nuclear powers, such as Austria, was very noticeable at this conference. What exactly were the outcomes of the conference this time? Was it a conference for each country to assert their own standpoint? The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Fumio Kishida, said in a video message that ‘reminding everyone of the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons should be the starting point ,’ but was this really the outcome of the conference? I very much doubt it.” (December 19, 2016). It appeared that many of those who were in the audience at the conference shared similar feelings of doubt and skepticism about the contents of the conference. Of course, the purpose of this conference is only to have an exchange of opinions and not to meet any kind of accord. Even so, the discussions actually conducted at the conference poured cold water on the fervent hopes of the citizens of Nagasaki for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

However, when pondering as to whether holding this United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues was a negative thing for Nagasaki, most likely it was a positive thing. One person who was in the audience said that in regard to the assertions of participants from countries promoting nuclear deterrents, they felt the need to be even greater for the abolition of nuclear weapons to be accomplished with the power of civil society. A Nagasaki high school student who was in the audience remarked that aside from the content of the conference, they were very impressed by Japanese participants who could carry out a discussion in English on a level footing with foreign participants. The student also said that the dignified manner in which Dr. Masao Tomonaga, Visiting Professor at RECNA and also Honorary Director of the Japanese Red Cross Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Hospital, gave a presentation in English about Nagasaki was stylish and deeply impressive. Takashi Yuguchi, principal of Kwassui Senior High School, listened in the audience together with his students. He said that by being in the audience at the conference, his students were able to see Japanese people who fulfil active roles in international society, and this has provided them with a concrete goal to aim for. Mr. Yuguchi said he hoped that this experience would provide some motivation for the students to work hard in their studies, especially English studies.

To be honest, most of those in the audience at the conference held this time in Nagasaki were dissatisfied with the content. However, one favorable outcome was that some present renewed their resolve toward nuclear disarmament by seeing for themselves the real state of the international community regarding the issue. It is to be hoped that the experience of being in the audience of the conference proved to be a good stimulus for the younger generation.

 

第26回国連軍縮会議に対する長崎の反応

2016年12月12日と13日、長崎市において第26回国連軍縮会議(United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues)が開催された。長崎において国連軍縮会議が開催されるのはこれで三回目となる。会議には、国連のキム・ウォンス軍縮担当高等代表をはじめ、二十数カ国から約三十名の海外ゲストが参加した他、国内からの参加者、また約七十名の地元高校生を含む百数十名が傍聴者として出席した。

この会議の性格は、各国の外交官や政府関係者、国連関係者だけでなく、研究者やNGO関係者も含めて、率直な意見交換を行う場を設けるというものであり、外交交渉を目的としたものではない。しかし、今回の長崎会議は、各国の外交官や政府関係者が多く参加し、いくつかのセッションは外交会議の延長のような様相を呈した。核軍縮交渉の現状に関するセッションやNPTに関するセッションでは、米ロの政府関係者が国連における核兵器禁止条約の交渉開始を厳しく批判し、また地域的な問題を扱うセッションではアラブ諸国からの参加者とイスラエルからの参加者が中東の非核化構想をめぐって激しく対立するという、国連やNPT再検討会議、ジュネーブ軍縮会議などでは何十回となく繰り返されてきた情景が長崎で再現されたのである。

この様子は、傍聴していた長崎市民にとってはかなりのショックであった。もちろん長崎ではRECNAが関係するものを含め、核軍縮に関する多くの国際会議が開催され、これまでも長崎の市民は海外の専門家の核軍縮に関する意見を耳にする多数の機会に恵まれてきた。しかし、そのほとんどは積極的に核軍縮を促進するという立場からのものであった。今回、核兵器廃絶よりも核抑止による安全保障を優先する「現実論」に立脚した政策を重視する国々の政府関係者の生の声をぶつけられた長崎市民の間には戸惑いの声も見られた。今回の会議参加者に英語で被爆体験を語った山脇佳朗氏は、長崎新聞に「会議は米ロなど核兵器保有国と、オーストリアなど非保有国の意見の対立が目立つばかりだったようだ。今回の会議の成果はいったい何だったのだろうか。互いの国の立場を主張するための会議だったのだろうか。岸田文雄外相はビデオメッセージで「核兵器の非人道性を改めて同期することが、出発点とならなければならない」と述べたが、果たしてそうなったのか」(2016年12月19日)と率直な疑問の声を寄せている。このような会議の内容に対する疑問と懐疑の声は傍聴者の間で広く共有されていたように見受けられる。もちろんこの会議の目的はあくまでも意見交換であり、具体的な合意を目指すものではない。それにしても実際に会議で交わされた議論の内容は核兵器廃絶を願う長崎の市民の熱意に水を差すようなものであった。

しかし、長崎にとって今回の国連軍縮会議の開催がマイナスになったかといえば、そうではないだろう。ある傍聴者は核兵器廃絶へ向けて、核抑止を肯定する国々からの参加者の主張に対し、さらに市民社会の力による核兵器廃絶の必要性を強く認識したと述べていた。また、傍聴した長崎の高校生は、会議の内容よりも「国際会議で日本人の参加者が海外からの参加者と対等に英語で議論しているのが凄かった。朝長先生(朝長万左男RECNA客員教授、日本赤十字社長崎原爆病院名誉院長)が堂々と英語で長崎のことを発表したのがとても格好良かった」と深く感銘を受けた様子であった。生徒と一緒に傍聴していた活水高等学校の湯口隆司校長は「会議を傍聴することで、国際社会で通用する日本人を目の当たりにして、生徒達には具体的な目標になったと思う。今後の学習、特に英語の学習のモーティベーションになればと期待している」と述べた。

正直なところ、ほとんどの傍聴者にとって今回の長崎での軍縮会議の内容は釈然としないものであった。しかし、核軍縮をめぐる国際社会の現実に触れることで、決意を新たにした人々がいたことは大きな収穫である。特に会議を傍聴した経験が若い世代にとって良い刺激となることを期待したい。

 

このページのトップへ

    • J-PAND
    • RECNA叢書
    • 世界の核弾頭データ
    • 世界の核物質データ
    • 市民データベース
    • ナガサキ・ユース代表団
    • Panel on Peace and Security of Northeast Asia
    • 北東アジア非核兵器地帯への包括的アプローチ
    • Monitor BLOG
    • Newsletter
    • Dispatches from Nagasaki
    • レクナの目

  • 核兵器廃絶長崎連絡協議会
  • 核兵器廃絶市民講座
  • RECNAアクセス