World Conference Against A & H Bombs opens in Hiroshima

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

The 2009 World Conference Against A & H Bombs, held by the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs and other entities opened this year’s gathering with an international meeting at Hiroshima Kosei Nenkin Hall in downtown Hiroshima on August 3. The participants, including delegations from the United States and China, began discussions on the theme of “For a Nuclear-Free, Peaceful and Just World.”

Shoji Sawada, director of the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, criticized Japan’s nuclear policy, saying, “Japan lacks persuasiveness when it urges other nations to abandon their nuclear weapons while still relying on the nuclear umbrella of the United States. He added, “Japan must adopt a non-nuclear stance by abiding by the Three Non-nuclear Principles and Article 9 of the Constitution.”

Tomas Magnusson, president of Sweden’s International Peace Bureau, pointed out that while U.S. President Barack Obama has advocated “a world without nuclear weapons,” he has nevertheless declared his intention to maintain a policy of nuclear deterrence. Mr. Magnusson called on the United States to take concrete action toward the elimination of nuclear weapons. “We haven’t seen the first step yet,” he said.

Walid Abdelnasser, Egyptian Ambassador to Japan, stressed the importance of creating a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. The ambassador criticized Israel for refusing to join the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The international meeting, part of the World Conference Against A & H Bombs, will continue until August 5.

On August 4, the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, the National Council for Peace and Against Nuclear Weapons, and the Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs will co-sponsor the Peace Hiroshima Conference.

(Originally published on August 4, 2009)