Proposal of a side-event at the 2020 NPT Review Conference ―Toward a world without nuclear weapons and war
1) Japan Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms hereby proposes a side-event in conjunction with the 2020 NPT Review Conference on a theme of “toward a world without nuclear weapons or war.”
2) The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), “(d)eeply concerned about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences” that would result from use of nuclear weapons, recognizes that the most certain way to avoid them is complete elimination of such weapons and that achieving and maintaining a nuclear-weapon-free world is a “global public good of the highest order.”
3) So far, there are 13,890 nuclear warheads in the world as of May 2019 (Federation of American Scientists = FAS). The nuclear-weapon states are not willing to start negotiation to abolish nuclear weapons, asserting that such weapons are indispensable for their security. A “nuclear-weapon-free” world does not come true unless the nuclear-weapon states abandon their nuclear arms. As long as nuclear weapons exist, there remains a risk of “catastrophic humanitarian consequences,” that is “extinction of human society.” In order to get free from such a situation, we must go beyond the idea of peace and security by nuclear weapons.
4) By the way, Article 2 paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter prohibits use or threat of force, providing that “(a)ll Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” However, Article 43 of the Charter provides military measures for international peace and stability in case non-military measures by the Security Council are not adequate. Additionally, Article 51 recognizes though limited the “inherent right of individual or collective self-defense” of Member States. There remains room for threat or use of force.
5) The Constitution of Japan, on the other hand, provides “renunciation of war” in Article 9 paragraph 1, and “non-possession of war potential” and “denial of the right of belligerency” in the following paragraph 2. It disables Japan from using force by renouncing war potential. It is a norm of absolute pacifism that not only outlaws war but also disables one from using force. Under this norm, it is not permitted to fight a defense war or use force to execute justice. We desire to globalize and universalize the attainment of Japanese Constitution.
6) A background of the substantial difference to have been made between the UN Charter and Japanese Constitution is the invention and use of nuclear weapons. The UN Charter was signed on June 26, 1945. The Japanese Constitution was promulgated on November 3, 1946. Remind yourself that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings on August 6 and 9, 1945, happened between those dates. Human beings have stepped into a “nuclear era” facing the threat of nuclear energy.
7) In August 1946, then minister Kijuro Shidehara stated at a constituent assembly in Japan as follows: “War would annihilate the civilization unless the civilization annihilates war immediately, because atomic bombs have been discovered…Japan will vigorously lead the peace movement and go forward raising the big flag. If we renounce war, we will no longer need any kind of armaments.”
9) Their idea is that extinction of civilization would be brought about if they attempt to resolve a matter by force in the “nuclear age.” Nuclear weapons have destroyed possibility of war. Therefore they no longer need armed forces. They were willing to denounce war. The “extinction of civilization” means “catastrophic humanitarian consequences.” The idea of not possessing armed forces because we do not use them is similar to a belief that if you are aware of danger of nuclear weapons, it is the best to abolish them.
10) The UN Declaration on the Right to Peace adopted on December 19, 2016, provides in Article 1 that “Everyone has the right to enjoy peace such that all human rights are promoted and protected and development is fully realized.” It is impossible to realize the “right to peace” under the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences.”
11) As long as nuclear weapons exist, it is impossible to enjoy true peace and security. We would like to remind you that the UN Disarmament Agenda points out that “(r)eversing the further deterioration of the international security environment requires a return to the mindset where the pursuit of nuclear disarmament is understood as the best means for preserving peace, preventing major inter-State war and maintaining stability in times of turbulence” (Part II Disarmament to Save Humanity).
12) There is a military organization named Self-Defense Force in Japan, while the Republic of Costa Rica not only prohibit permanent forces in its constitution but also in reality has adopted vigorous non-armed pacifism. Moreover, there are 26 states in the world that do not possess military forces. On the other hand, if you attempt to resolve a matter by force, you cannot discard nuclear weapons because they are their “ultimate weapons.” You can easily understand this when you see the behavior of the nuclear-weapon states. The reliance of such weapons continues as long as threat or use of force and possession of war potential are permitted whether for self-defense or for justice. We must establish a legal norm that prohibits conflict resolution by force without exception in order to end the reliance on the ultimate nuclear weapons.
13) We would like to propose a side-event titled “toward the world without nuclear weapons or war,” aiming to deny any threat or use of force based on a vigorous philosophy of war denunciation and to denounce war potential and the right of belligerency for that purpose, as well as promoting signature and ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and good faith negotiation of nuclear disarmament and its conclusion based on Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
President, Japan Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms