Towards “a world without nuclear weapons and war”
―Our resolution for the 75th anniversary of the A-bombing
and for the 50th anniversary of NPT―
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: NPT, we Japan Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms reaffirm our resolve as follows.
1. On this March 10, the permanent members of the UN Security Council, while recognizing the significance of the NPT regime, issued a statement on the 50th anniversary of the treaty's entry into force, which makes the abolition of nuclear weapons the "ultimate goal" of the treaty. Meanwhile, on May 19, Malaysia and 16 other countries that are promoting nuclear disarmament issued a joint communique stating that the NPT supports international efforts to eliminate a threat to human survival posed by nuclear weapons.
In line with these views, we appreciate that the NPT regime has played, and will continue to play, an important role in the elimination of nuclear weapons. However, the abolition of nuclear weapons is not “the ultimate goal” as nuclear-weapon states say, but “an urgent task”.
2. These statements, by the way, do not refer to the Preamble of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which points out that "any use of nuclear weapons would be contrary to the principles and rules of international humanitarian law". The first resolution of the UN General Assembly in January 1946 sought the abolition of nuclear weapons, and the 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice that "the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to…the principles and the rules of international humanitarian law" is well known. And in 2018, the UN Human Rights Committee stated that "the use or threat of use of… nuclear weapons… is incompatible with respect for the right to life and may amount to a crime under international law". It has been held that the use or threat of nuclear weapons violates not only international humanitarian law as it applies to armed conflict, but also international human rights law. We believe that nuclear weapons are incompatible with all legal norms.
3. The world is currently in the midst of a new coronavirus pandemic, and the nuclear arms race between nuclear-weapon states is intensifying. The danger of the use of nuclear weapons has increased to the point that the world "Doomsday Clock" indicates that there are only 100 seconds left until the destruction of mankind. Negotiations over the extension of the New START Treaty are difficult.
Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is expected to take effect, but there is no indication that the nuclear-weapon states will enter into negotiations for nuclear disarmament.
There is “an unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals" at the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 2000, and an agreement that “expresses…deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and reaffirms the need for all member states at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law.” at the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 2010. However now all of them are about to be reversed.
4. We, as jurists of the only country that suffered nuclear attacks, we resolve to continue our efforts, in concert with the A-bomb survivors and other civil society groups, who hope them to be the last and who want to eliminate nuclear weapons and seek peace, to realize a world without nuclear weapons and without war by calling for the maintenance and continuation of the NPT regime, the early entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the extension of the New START Treaty, and the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
August 3, 2020.
Takeya Sasaki, President, Japan Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms