The Trump Administration released a new nuclear strategy guideline, “Nuclear Posture Review (NPR)” on February 2, 2018.
This NPR points out that “the international security environment has deteriorated rapidly since the release of the previous 2010 NPR, and the world has become more dangerous.” This 2018 NPR asserts the need for “modern, flexible and resilient nuclear capabilities,” maintaining that the ambition to possess nuclear arms by North Korea and Iran in addition to Russia and China, as well as nuclear terrorism, are continuous threats. Specifically, it seeks the following: i) introduction of two types of new nuclear weapons such as low-yield small weapons; ii) launch on redevelopment of nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs); and iii) enhancement and upgrading of the “triad” of means of delivery of nuclear warheads: intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), and strategic bombers. Additionally, the NPR attempts to strengthen nuclear deterrence by expanding nuclear options or easing conditions for their use, mentioning the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons in retaliation against non-nuclear attacks.
Following the release of the latest NPR, the Japanese government issued a comment on February 3 that said “Japan highly appreciates the NPR,” and continued that “Japan will strengthen the deterrence of the Japan-US alliance including nuclear deterrence.”
This NPR goes against the international trend and the wish of the civil society including the Hibakusha (atomic-bomb survivors) calling for achievement of a “nuclear-weapon-free world.” We strongly protest against the NPR because it is a dangerous guideline that could drive humanity into a catastrophe.
On July 7, 2017, the United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) by a vote of 122 states in favor. The 122 yes votes means that about 60 percent majority of the 193 UN member states are for the Treaty. Over 200 international NGOs participated in the Conference to negotiate and adopt the TPNW, calling for abolition of nuclear weapons.
In addition, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), honoring the great contribution of the civil society including the Hibakusha, who have testified the reality and experience of the atomic bombings, and have called for total elimination of nuclear weapons.
It is a wish of the civil society including the Hibakusha and international trend to seek achievement of a “nuclear-weapon-free world.” However, this NPR diverts the guideline of the previous Obama Administration, who aimed to achieve a “nuclear-weapon-free world,” saying that “as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has moral responsibility to act.” Instead the Trump NPR attempts to enhance nuclear deterrence, expanding nuclear options or easing conditions for their use. It is a dangerous guideline that could drive humanity into a catastrophe and goes against the international trend and the wish of the civil society to have taken the step of making nuclear weapons illegal, including their threatened use, by the adoption of the TPNW.
We also protest strongly against the Japanese government, who has conformed with the NPR, going against the international trend and the wish of the civil society including the Hibakusha that seek the achievement of a “nuclear-weapon-free world.”
The Japanese government has long asserted the inhumanity of nuclear weapons and taken a “stance alongside the Hibakusha” as the only country to have suffered wartime atomic bombings on its cities. Nevertheless, they promptly conformed with the NPR, “highly appreciating” it. Primarily, the Japanese government is expected to play an active role as the only atomic-bombed country in achieving total elimination of nuclear weapons and a “nuclear-weapon-free world” by sharing the reality and experience of the atomic bombings for example. Such attitude of the Japanese government, who has conformed with the NPR aimed to strengthen nuclear deterrence, not only goes against the international trend and the wish of the civil society including the Hibakusha calling for achievement of a “nuclear-weapon-free world” but also means giving up its “stance alongside the Hibakusha.” This is an unforgivable response as the only country to have suffered wartime atomic bombings on its cities.
As long as nuclear weapons exist on the earth, it is impossible to enjoy true world peace and security. Nuclear weapons are not only inhuman weapons that could drive humanity into a catastrophe but also contrary to the principles and rules of international law applicable in armed conflict. Therefore, the logic of nuclear deterrence, which aims to assure security by threatening to use nuclear weapons, does not hold up. If you aim at true world peace and security, you should actively promote the international trend and the wish of the civil society including the Hibakusha so that the whole world will move toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons rather than try to strengthen nuclear deterrence.
For these reasons, we strongly protest against the Trump Administration’s NPR, which aims to strengthen nuclear deterrence, and the Japanese government’s conformity to it. Accordingly, we strongly urge the US government to withdraw the NPR immediately, and we call upon the Japanese government, as the only atomic-bombed country, to persuade the US to do so.
At the same time, we urge the Japanese government as the only atomic-bombed country, all nuclear-weapon states including the US, and other nuclear-dependent states, to accept sincerely the purpose of the TPNW, which has reaffirmed the illegality of nuclear weapons use and strengthened that of their threatened use, possession and so on, and to accede to the Treaty.