The Japanese Government refused to sign the “Joint Statement on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons,” which was delivered by the representative of South Africa on behalf of 74 State Parties at the Second Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT Review Conference in Geneva on April 24.
As to why the government refused to sign the Statement, Ambassador Mari Amano, permanent representative to the Conference on Disarmament, stated as follows: Japan supports the fundamental message regarding the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons…, taking into account the security environment surrounding Japan…, Japan decided to forgo joining the statement.
According to the press, the reason for the refusal is that the following part of the Statement is not compatible with the policy of nuclear deterrence of Japan: It is in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons are never used again, under any circumstances.
The Joint Statement was issued in the context of a historical process of aiming at the abolition of nuclear weapons in the view of international humanitarian law, and follows the “deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons” expressed in the final document of the 2010 Review Conference of the NPT. The process of reaffirming the illegality of use of nuclear weapons and outlawing and abolishing them based on the international humanitarian law is seen in the Judgment of the Shimoda Case by the Tokyo District Court in 1964, the 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, the final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, and the “Conference of the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons” held in Oslo in March this year. The Conference held in Oslo highlighted a new humanitarian viewpoint that “no State or international body could address the immediate humanitarian emergency caused by a nuclear weapon detonation or provide adequate assistance to victims” (the Joint Statement) in addition to the longtime concern at indiscriminate damage caused right after a nuclear weapon is used and its wide-ranging and lasting aftereffect. All of these were the very facts Japan experienced in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where medical institutions were destroyed and those who went for emergency relief also suffered grave damage.
However, Japanese Government did not agree with this Joint Statement. It is Japan that should lead the abolition of nuclear weapons in the view of inhumane consequence of a nuclear use and international humanitarian law. Nevertheless, the Government refused to sign the Statement. We cannot help feeling strong indignation at this attitude.
Japan Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (JALANA) strongly protests against Japanese Government, which should play a special role in realizing a world free of nuclear weapons for the survival of humanity but has failed to do so. Such an attitude of the country that has ever suffered nuclear attacks is an obstacle to the international community that desires a world without nuclear weapons. At the same time, JALANA would like to urge the Government, which “wishes to explore seriously the possibility of joining a statement with the same theme in the future (Statement by Ambassador Amano)”, to join the Statement as soon as possible.
This December is the 50th anniversary of the Judgment of the Shimoda Case by the Tokyo District Court, which declared for the first time in the world that the use of nuclear weapons (atomic bombs) was illegal under the international law. We would like to convey to the world the significance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which are the origin of the inhumanity of the use of nuclear weapons.