Statement calling for the Government of Japan to play an active role as host of the G7 Hiroshima Summit towards a "world without nuclear weapons"
The G7 Hiroshima Summit (summit of the seven countries) will be held from May 19 to 21 this year. In his message for the G7 Hiroshima Summit, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida declared that the G7 would "firmly reject any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or the threats or the use of nuclear weapons" and "uphold the international order based on the rule of law," and that Japan would take the lead as the presiding country in deepening discussions on issues facing the international community, such as nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, "so that ideas and plans are clearly presented for the future."
On December 9, 2021, the JFBA published the "Statement Calling for the Government of Japan to play an active role at the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons " and on July 14, 2022, the "Statement Calling on the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to advance concrete and effective proposals at the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) that will lead to a world without nuclear weapons.” As noted in these statements, the NPT, in Article VI, obliges Parties to the Treaty to pursue negotiations in good faith relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race, nuclear disarmament, and a treaty on general and complete disarmament. This is understood as a commitment by the nuclear-weapon states to dismantle their own nuclear weapons and, together with the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear-weapon states, sets out a legal framework for a “world without nuclear weapons.” The “obligation to pursue negotiations in good faith” is said to include the “obligation to bring to a conclusion negotiations” by the International Court of Justice.
However, efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons in the international community have remained stagnant: The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Review Conference held at the UN Headquarters in New York in August 2022 failed to adopt a consensus document for two consecutive sessions.
Not only that, with regard to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, nuclear threats still persist and the use of nuclear weapons is perceived as a realistic menace.
The JFBA calls on the Government of Japan to play a proactive role in the G7 Hiroshima Summit towards a "world without nuclear weapons", as the host country, as follows:
- To provide opportunities for heads of state and government to understand the reality of the atomic bombings and the inhumanity of nuclear weapons
In order to abolish nuclear weapons, it is first necessary to have heads of state and government understand the reality of the atomic bombings and the inhumanity of nuclear weapons, and to make progress in their efforts to abolish nuclear weapons.
The Government of Japan should not only invite heads of state to visit the Genbaku (Atomic bomb) Dome, Peace Memorial Park and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, but also provide them with opportunities to hear first-hand experiences from hibakusha (persons affected by the bombing) to understand the reality of the atomic bombings and the inhumanity of nuclear weapons.
- To make concrete and effective proposals for a “world without nuclear weapons”
The Government of Japan submits a draft resolution every year to the UN General Assembly on the abolition of nuclear weapons, and the draft resolution on the abolition of nuclear weapons (Steps to building a common road map towards a world without nuclear weapons), which was submitted on December 8, 2022, at the plenary session of the UN General Assembly, was adopted with the support of 147 countries. The resolution called on the international community to continue the non-use of nuclear weapons, to improve transparency, and to emphasize the importance of disarmament and non-proliferation education to improve understanding of the reality of the atomic bombings; reaffirmed that the realization of a “world without nuclear weapons” is a common goal of the international community; and reaffirmed its determination to call for full and steady implementation of the NPT in all its aspects, including the provision of Article VI of the Treaty, and to further enhance the universality of the Treaty.
Given the Government of Japan's determination to fully and steadily implement the Treaty in all its aspects, including the provision of Article VI of the NPT, and to enhance its universality, it should make concrete and effective proposals for the full and steady implementation of Article VI of the NPT as the presiding country at the G7 Hiroshima Summit.
April 21, 2023
President of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations