The International Commission on Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament (ICNND) was launched in September 2008 as a joint Australia-Japan initiative. It is a second track initiative made up of international experts in a similar fashion to the Canberra Commission, the Tokyo Forum, and the International Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission.
The first special characteristic of this Commission is that it was launched at an extremely important time, after statements by Shultz, Kissinger, et al calling for a world free of nuclear weapons on the grounds of the danger of an expansion of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terror, and statements in favor of nuclear abolition by political leaders. Also, after the ICNND was established, this global push for a world without nuclear weapons was followed up by President Obama in his speech in Prague in April last year and by the UN Security Council Resolution 1887 in September.
The second special characteristic of the Commission is that it aims to get its recommendations reflected in government policy, especially in the policies of nuclear weapon states. To this end, in addition to the Co-chairs, former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans and former Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, there are 13 Commissioners from countries including nuclear weapon states - the USA, Russia, China, the UK and France - and India and Pakistan, which have nuclear weapons but are outside the NPT. Many of the Commissioners are either politicians, or military people with experience in security issues, including nuclear weapons.
The Commission's schedule included four main meetings and four regional meetings and the production of a report directed towards the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
2. Launch of the ICNND Japan NGO Network
The ICNND Japan NGO Network (NGO Network) was launched in January last year with the aim of lobbying the ICNND as members of civil society.
(1) Objectives of the NGO Network
The NGO Network aimed to lobby the ICNND in the hope of encouraging it to make concrete recommendations on the following policy issues:
1.an international framework to outlaw nuclear weapons, including a Nuclear Weapons Convention;
2.reducing the role of nuclear weapons in security policies;
3.new moves responding to civil use of nuclear energy for nuclear non-proliferation;
4.building a regional non-nuclear and peace system for Northeast Asia.
The NGO Network's plan of action to achieve these objectives included: holding regular meetings to exchange views with the ICNND Co-chairs, securing opportunities for NGO representatives and the ICNND Co-chairs' NGO Advisors to speak at ICNND meetings, securing opportunities for Hibakusha to give witness to the ICNND, demanding that an ICNND meeting be held at the site of the atomic bombings, making submissions to the ICNND, and stimulating public interest.
(2) Composition of the NGO Network
One reason why the NGO Network was formed was that a loose network of people from Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been formed to lobby the Tokyo Forum. Another reason was that Akira Kawasaki (Peace Boat) and Tilman Ruff (ICAN, Australia) had been chosen to be personal NGO Advisors to both ICNND Co-chairs. This created the possibility of exchanging views with the Co-chairs. The NGO Network included Hibakusha group Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Hidankyo), groups with a long history in nuclear issues such as Japan Council against A & H Bombs (Gensuikyo) and Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs (Gensuikin), lawyers' groups including Japan Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, young people's groups, women's groups, and so on. In addition, representatives of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear abolition networks became members of the NGO Network. Peace Depot, a civil society think-tank, provided the secretariat.
(3) Unprecedented NGO participation
The NGO Network participated in a meeting held in Hiroshima between NGOs, the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and ICNND Commissioners and Advisors. The NGO Advisors were given the opportunity to make presentations at the ICNND's Moscow meeting. On three occasions the NGO Network held meetings to exchange views with Co-chair Yoriko Kawaguchi. Meetings were also held with both Co-chairs together and with Co-chair Gareth Evans by himself. While it could be said that these meetings were inadequate in some respects, it was an unprecedented degree of participation for Japanese NGOs. The NGO Network also made several submissions to the Commission.
3. Outcome of NGO Network's Activities
In lobbying the ICNND, the NGO Network placed particular emphasis on the following issues.
(1) Presenting the true picture of the atomic bombings
When the NGO Network was launched, as its starting point it placed particular emphasis on getting the Commissioners' to understand the damage to human beings caused by the atomic bombings. From its formative stages the NGO Network strongly requested Co-chair Kawaguchi to give Japanese Hibakusha, who survived the atomic bombings, an opportunity to address the Commission. As a result, in February last year three Hibakusha were given an opportunity to bear witness. This in turn linked to the ICNND meeting in Hiroshima in October. We believe the Hibakushas' witness had some impact on the Commissioners and that it provided a foundation for the Commission to respond to NGO demands.
Co-chair Gareth Evans made the following remarks at a press conference after hearing the Hibakusha's experiences in Washington in February 2009.
Let me say … it was a very, very moving, devastating testimony that I think we heard from the hibakusha survivors yesterday. It was very difficult. Even though they've been telling their stories for many years now, those stories were so harrowing, so personal, so intense in the emotional stress that is obviously involved, that it made a very big impression on the Commission.
It's very, very important that when you sit down and address these issues, you don't just focus on the intellectual and abstract problems. We have to constantly remember that the reason we are so concerned about nuclear weapons is because they are the most horribly destructive weapons of all in terms of the sheer human misery and waste, despoliation that they cause. And that was a message that came through very clearly from the survivors. It made a deep impression on the Commissioners and we are very grateful to Yoriko and the Japanese side for making possible our experience of that testimony.
Unfortunately, the Japanese Foreign Ministry persisted with its claim that there was no budget for the visit to Washington of the Hibakusha and the NGO Advisor, so a public appeal was launched to raise funds. This actually had the positive effect of generating interest in our activities.
(2) Lobbying the Commission about a Nuclear Weapons Convention and a target date for the elimination of nuclear weapons
Our strongest demand was that the Commission specify a target date for eliminating all nuclear weapons and recommend the commencement of negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC). When Co-chair Evans met with NGOs in Tokyo in May he said that these were premature and that it would be difficult to include them in the report. However, in the end the following words were included regarding a NWC.
"Work should commence now on further refining and developing the concepts in the model Nuclear Weapons Convention now in circulation" (ICNND Report, Recommendation 73)
We must strive to get wording at least as strong as this incorporated in the final report of the NPT Review Conference. Unfortunately, the ICNND offered no target date for eliminating nuclear weapons.
(3) Resistance within the Japanese Government - especially regarding reducing the role of nuclear weapons
After the ICNND and the ICNND Japan NGO Network were established, President Obama gave a historic speech in Prague calling for a world without nuclear weapons. In that speech he said, "…we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy…" Also, the United States Government's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) was being carried out in parallel with the work of the ICNND. Attention was focused on the question of whether the new NPR would contain a "sole purpose" declaration to the effect that the role of nuclear weapons was restricted to the sole purpose of deterring nuclear weapons. It was said that, along with nuclear hawks in the United States, the strongest opposition to making a "sole purpose" declaration came from the Japanese Government, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and the Ministry of Defense.
For this reason, and given the fact that MoFA provided a secretariat for the ICNND, there was a lot of debate within the ICNND over this issue. In August last year, before the change of government, Prime Minister Taro Aso (Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)) expressed his opposition to "no first use". ICNND Co-chair Yoriko Kawaguchi, an LDP Diet Member, was also under pressure from MoFA. Consequently, she wavered considerably over whether to accept "sole purpose".
In this context, the NGO Network pointed out that the government of Japan, the country which was the victim of the atomic bombings, was an obstacle to nuclear disarmament. In so doing, we succeeded in generating a certain amount of media interest in this issue.
We also lobbied the new Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) government. This generated a certain amount of pressure on MoFA from politicians. There was also pressure from ICNND Co-chair Evans, who was very interested in this issue. In the end, the following recommendation was included in the ICNND Report.
"It is particularly important that at least a "sole purpose" statement be made in the U.S. Nuclear Posture review due for publication early in 2010, placing pressure as this would on other nuclear-armed states to be more forthcoming, and undermining "double standards" arguments at the 2010 NPT review Conference." (Recommendation 52)
However, there are concerns in the United States that if, as a result of limiting the role of nuclear weapons, the nuclear umbrella is weakened, Japan might acquire nuclear weapons. To address these concerns, Foreign Minister Okada sent a message to the United States Government to the effect that he did not oppose a reduction in the role of nuclear weapons. Also, over 200 Japanese Diet Members sent a statement to President Obama saying that Japan will not acquire nuclear weapons, even if the role of US nuclear weapons is reduced.
4. The ICNND Japan NGO Network was disbanded on March 15 this year and a looser network was formed with a view to lobbying the government.