Japan Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (JALANA) is a lawyers’ organization whose purposes are abolition of nuclear weapons and support for the Hibakusha (Atomic-Bomb survivors). It is also Japanese affiliate of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) , which has consultative status with the UN.
JALANA consists of about 300 members who are convinced that Japanese lawyers have special imperative of eliminating all nuclear arsenals. The reason why we must abolish nuclear weapons is their illegality and inhumanity. As jurists of the country that actually suffered nuclear attacks, we must demonstrate their illegality and inhumanity in order to establish a world free of nuclear weapons.
We have worked closely with the Hibakusha, who actually experienced the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use at which the 2010 NPT Review Conference expressed its deep concern in its Final Document.
The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945, turned cities to ruins, took the lives of many citizens, and deprived the survivors of their health, property, livelihoods and the possibility to lead normal human lives. Almost seventy years have passed since the bombings, but the survivors are still suffering from the illnesses caused by radiation of the atomic bombs (called A-Bomb illnesses).
Hearing testimonies of the Hibakusha, we have provided evidences of the illegality and inhumanity of nuclear weapons. Yasuhiro Matsui, the first president of our association was an attorney for the plaintiff in the Shimoda Case (compensation claim against Japan brought by the residents of Hiroshima & Nagasaki ※1) , and led a historical decision by the Tokyo District Court that the atomic bombings were an illegal act of hostility (See also “Statement on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons Use and the Illegality of Atomic Bombing.” ).
Recently many of JALANA members have supported the Hibakusha as their legal counsel in their Lawsuits for A-Bomb Illness Certification, claiming special medical allowances. The lawsuits revealed not only the government’s irresponsibility for damage of atomic bombs but also the incomparable cruelty of those weapons (See also The Trials for Recognition of A-Bomb Injuries and the Feelings of Hibakusha).
Nuclear weapons must never be used again under any circumstances, and the only way of assuring it is total elimination of those weapons of mass destruction. This is a simple but crucial lesson we should learn from experience of the Hibakusha.
In order to embody the lesson, all states including nuclear weapon states must agree on a Nuclear Weapons Convention that provides practical mechanism with a timeframe toward the total elimination of nuclear arsenals.
The Model Nuclear Weapons Convention (MNWC) drafted by a number of civil society organizations including IALANA shows feasibility of abolishing nuclear weapons. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also regarded the MNWC as “a good point of departure.” We would like to make use of any opportunities to achieve such a Convention, persuading governments to immediately commence negotiations (See also Initiatives in Japan Aimed at Making a Nuclear Weapons Convention a Reality).
Little time is left for the Hibakusha. We must carry out our mission to realize a world free of nuclear weapons within their lifetime. Therefore, we should start negotiations right now.
An English translation of the verdict is available on the website of the International Committee of the Red Cross.