Statements Archive
Nov 13, 2015 - Statement: Calling on the Governments of Japan and around the world to take concrete steps to ban nuclear weapons
Through our global voyages, Peace Boat has travelled around the world together with Hibakusha, survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, giving testimony about the inhumanity of nuclear weapons, and appealing for such a tragedy to never happen again. We have learned of the serious damage caused during each stage of the nuclear weapons cycle, through working together with survivors of nuclear tests in Tahiti and the Marshall Islands, and indigenous Australians affected by uranium mining on their land.

This year marks the 70th anniversary since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This year, the United Nations General Assembly First Committee adopted several of important resolutions relating to the abolition of nuclear weapons.

In particular, three new resolutions which focus on the inhumanity of nuclear weapons were adopted: the resolution on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons (L. 37, proposed by Austria), the Humanitarian Pledge for the Prohibition and Elimination of Nuclear Weapons (L. 38, proposed by Austria), and Ethical imperatives for a nuclear-weapons-free world (L. 40, proposed by South Africa). Each of these resolutions calls for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons, based on their humanitarian impact, and on the outcomes of recent international conferences. A great majority of governments supported these resolutions, with 136, 128 and 124 countries voting in favor respectively.

The Japanese government supported the resolution on humanitarian consequences, however it abstained on the resolutions regarding the pledge and ethical imperatives. As a country that has experienced the atomic bombings, it is extremely disappointing that Japan refused to support these two resolutions. While stating that nuclear weapons are inhumane, the Japanese government is not taking real steps towards action to ban them. Japan also abstained from voting on the resolution to establish a United Nations Working Group to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations (L. 13, proposed by Mexico). This is completely inappropriate for the government of the country which experienced Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

On the other hand, the resolution proposed by the Japanese government, United action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons (L. 26) did not receive the support of any of the nuclear weapon states, with the United States abstaining this year. Until now Japan has claimed that it can play a bridging role between the nuclear weapon states and those countries without nuclear weapons. Yet, the result of this year's vote shows clearly that the international community does not support Japan's traditional approach .

While an overwhelming majority of governments are now coming together in favour of banning nuclear weapons, the handful of nuclear weapon states are hardening their stance to resist it. In this context, Japan's stance is putting the country's basic policy into question. Japan should not side with nuclear weapon states, but instead strengthen its cooperation with countries speaking of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, and show leadership in working towards their ban. We call on Japan to actively participate in and contribute to the soon to be established UN Working Group.

Peace Boat also pledges to deepen our collaboration with partners including Hibakusha, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Mayors for Peace, and call upon the governments and international institutions of the world to begin negotiations towards a nuclear weapons ban with no further ado.

November 13, 2015
Peace Boat

Download this statement as a PDF here.

Read the original Japanese statement here.