Twin conferences for nuclear weapons abolition held in Hiroshima

by Osamu Kido, Staff Writer

Two World Conferences Against A & H Bombs, held separately by the Japan Council Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, and by the Japan Congress Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, opened their gatherings at Hiroshima Green Arena on August 4, 2008. The conferences are being held through August 6. The participants in the conferences will explore such agendas as their undertakings for the 2010 NPT Review Conference, realizing the denuclearization of northeast Asia, and collaborative efforts for antinuclear campaigns.

Approximately 6,800 people, including 99 overseas delegates from 34 countries, participated in the World Conference Against A & H Bombs held by the Japan Council. Kouji Tomita, professor at Kwansei Gakuin University and chairman of the World Conference Drafting Committee, presented a declaration critical of the nuclear policies of the United States. The declaration was adopted at the International Meeting which closed the day’s proceedings.

Sergio Duarte, UN High Representative Officer for Disarmament Affairs, joined the conference as an overseas delegate for the first time. He was the president of the previous NPT Review Conference held in 2005, which failed to produce a consensus among the participants. In his appeal, Mr. Duarte stated, “Campaigns for nuclear weapons abolition are never in vain. We should commit ourselves to continuing our steadfast efforts.”

The Congress Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs opened its own World Conference Against A & H Bombs in collaboration with the Japanese Trade Union Confederation and the National Council for Peace and Against Nuclear Weapons. Approximately 6,500 people participated in the conference. Tsuyoshi Takagi, president of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, proclaimed, “We will make greater efforts for the next NPT Review Conference than we did in preparation for the previous one.”

On behalf of the overseas delegates, Kristin Blom, of the International Trade Union Confederation, headquartered in Brussels, stressed, “We must transform our current world from a war economy to a peace economy.”

(Originally published on August 5, 2008)