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Dispatches from Nagasaki No.27

The notice of withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty – Statement from an atomic-bombed city

The announcement by the United States of its notification to Russia to withdraw from the INF Treaty has naturally attracted much criticism in the atomic-bombed city of Nagasaki. RECNA has already declared the decision by the United States as “an absolute act of folly” (http://www.recna.nagasaki-u.ac.jp/recna/en-recnaseye/no8-en) and there has also been a succession of protests from atomic bomb survivors’ organizations, peace activity groups, and local governments in Japan. Dr. Masao Tomonaga, chairman of the Nagasaki Global Citizens’ Assembly for Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, expressed his fears in comments such as “I feel as though the world is reverting back to the Cold War era, or even before that” and “the United States is playing around with the power of nuclear weapons.” Mr. Toyoichi Ihara, president of the Society of Hibakusha Certificate Holders of Nagasaki Prefecture, also echoed this saying, “The move by these two countries (the United States and Russia) goes against the movement to eliminate nuclear weapons and all the hard work thus far will have been in vain” (Asahi Shimbun, February 3, 2019). Mr. Koichi Kawano, chairman of the Liaison Council of Hibakusha, Nagasaki Peace Movement Center, commented “Just when the opportunity is mounting to eliminate nuclear weapons after so much effort, the boat is being rocked.” Mr. Takeshi Yamakawa, representative of the Nagasaki Citizens Association for Protesting U.S. Nuclear Testing expressed strong concerns in his comment “Not only between the two great nuclear powers, this will have a bad influence on the nuclear weapons situation globally and create an atmosphere opposing the elimination of nuclear weapons” (Nagasaki Shimbun, February 2, 2019).

Although having showed wholehearted approval of the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) by the Trump Administration (http://www.recna.nagasaki-u.ac.jp/recna/en-dispatches/no-23), the Japanese government responded quickly to the notification of the US’s withdrawal from the INF Treaty with a comment from Foreign Minister Taro Kono at a press conference on February 1. While showing consideration for the position of the United States, Mr. Kono said that “the situation … is not desirable for the world” (https://www.mofa.go.jp/press/kaiken/kaiken4e_000600.html). Furthermore, in another press conference held on February 5, Mr. Kono said, “Japan will actively urge for expansion of the INF Treaty to countries that already possess such missiles as well as countries that are developing them” (https://www.mofa.go.jp/press/kaiken/kaiken4e_000601.html) bearing in mind that President Trump mentioned a new treaty to control intermediate-range nuclear missiles. In regard to the stance shown by the Japanese government, Mr. Yamakawa said, “Japan should take the lead in protesting to the United States and play an intermediary role in preventing its withdrawal from the treaty” (Nagasaki Shimbun, February 2, 2019). In response to a remark on February 4 by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga that he understands the decision by the United States to withdraw from the treaty, Chairman Ihara voiced severe criticism saying that as a country that suffered such a terrible experience [in the atomic bombing], Japan should guide nuclear powers towards nuclear disarmament and that therefore, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga’s remark was completely wrong (Nishinippon Shimbun February 6, 2019). Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue commented that it was “entirely unacceptable” and also that as the collapse of the treaty may possibly have an impact on Northeast Asia, and he urged the Japanese government to persuade the United States and Russia to stay in the treaty. (Asahi Shimbun, February 3, 2019)

The mayors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima visited the embassies in Tokyo of the United States and Russia on February 12 to lodge a direct appeal that the INF Treaty be kept. Also, the main atomic bomb survivors organizations in Nagasaki created a written request dated February 5 which they jointly signed and sent to President Trump urging him to retract the US decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty. Movement is underway in the atomic-bombed cities to directly persuade the United States and Russia to keep the INF Treaty.

 

INF全廃条約破棄通告について ― 被爆地からの発言 ―

米国がロシアに対し、INF全廃条約を破棄するとの通告を行ったことは、被爆地である長崎において当然ながら大きな批判を呼んでいる。RECNAとしてもこの米国の決定を「世紀の愚行」とする見解を発表 (http://www.recna.nagasaki-u.ac.jp/recna/eyes/no16) したが、被爆者団体、平和活動団体、自治体からの非難も相次いでいる。「地球市民集会ナガサキ」の朝長万左男実行委員長は「世界が冷戦期、さらにその前に逆戻りしているように感じる」、「核兵器の力をもてあそんでいる」と危惧し、また、長崎県被爆者手帳友の会の井原東洋一会長は「この二国(米ロ)が核廃絶の流れに逆行しては、これまで積み上げてきた努力が無になる」と批判した(朝日新聞2019年2月3日)。さらに長崎県平和運動センター被爆者連絡協議会の川野浩一議長は「せっかく核廃絶の機運が高まってきたのに波風が立ってきた」と述べ、核実験に抗議する長崎市民の会の山川剛代表も「核大国の二国間に限らず世界の核情勢に悪影響を与え、核廃絶に逆行するムードが生まれる」と強い懸念を示した(長崎新聞2019年2月2日)。

トランプ政権による「核態勢の見直し」(NPR)に対してはもろ手を挙げて賛成した日本政府 (http://www.recna.nagasaki-u.ac.jp/recna/dispatches/dispatches-from-nagasaki-no-23#jpn) も、今回の米国によるINF全廃条約破棄の通告に対してはいち早く河野外務大臣が2月1日の記者会見で米国の立場に配慮しつつも、「世界的に望ましいものではない」と述べ (https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/press/kaiken/kaiken4_000797.html#topic2) 、さらに2月5日の記者会見では、トランプ大統領が中距離核兵器を規制するための新しい条約に言及したことを念頭において「INFの全廃条約のマルチ化」を積極的に働きかけてゆくと述べた (https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/press/kaiken/kaiken4_000798.html#topic3) 。日本政府の姿勢について、山川剛代表は「率先して米国をいさめ、条約が破棄されないよう仲介してほしい」と述べ(長崎新聞2019年2月2日)、井原東洋一会長は、2月4日に菅義偉官房長官が米国の決定について「理解できる」と発言したのに対し「悲惨な体験をした日本こそ、保有国を核軍縮へと導くべきなのに、間違っていると厳しく批判した(西日本新聞2019年2月6日)。長崎市の田上富久市長も「とうてい容認できない」、「この条約の破綻が北東アジアに影響する可能性もある」として、日本政府に対して米ロ両国に条約の維持を働きかけるよう要望した(朝日新聞2019年2月3日)。

広島、長崎の両市長は、2月12日に東京にある米ロの両大使館を訪ね、INF全廃条約の維持を直接要望し、また、長崎の主な被爆者団体は、2月5日付でトランプ大統領宛にINF条約の破棄を撤回するよう求める要望書を連名で作成、送付するなど、被爆地から直接米ロに働きかけようとする動きも始まっている。

 

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