Peace Boat holds online meeting to continue nuclear-abolition discussion, calls for collaboration in face of NPT review conference postponement

by Kyoko Niiyama, Staff Writer

On April 29, Peace Boat, a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Tokyo, held a meeting online to discuss topics related to nuclear disarmament, in response to the postponement of the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. About 100 people participated in the meeting, including A-bomb survivors and members of citizens groups who had registered in advance to attend the session. The participants confirmed the need for enhanced collaboration to ensure that discussion about the elimination of nuclear weapons could be continued without interruption.

In the meeting, Keiko Nakamura, associate professor at the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (RECNA) of Nagasaki University, explained the challenges facing the NPT framework. Ms. Nakamura pointed out that the risk of nuclear weapons’ use has increased, as the nuclear powers have failed to begin disarmament activities even 50 years after the NPT came into force. “Japan has announced that it would play the role of serving as a bridge between nuclear and non-nuclear nations. However, its efforts aimed at elimination of nuclear weapons are moving backward,” she stressed.

Akira Kawasaki, co-chair of Peace Boat, remarked that the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) would strengthen the NPT. “We have to stress the inhumanity of nuclear weapons and urge early entry into force of the TPNW,” said Mr. Kawasaki.

The NPT review conference, which takes place every five years, was originally scheduled to be held in New York City from April 27 to May 22 this year. At the end of March, however, the decision was made to postpone the meeting. At the web conference, 15 civic groups throughout Japan, which had been expected to send representatives to the review conference or hold events at the meeting venue, shared information on their activities and called for collaboration with other participants. The online meeting was streamed live on YouTube, an online video platform, through which about 500 viewers tuned into the streamed session.

(Originally published on April 30, 2020)