The Sixth General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties started on December 2 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with the theme “Asia’s Quest for a Better Tomorrow”. Japanese Communist Party Shii Kazuo delivered a speech entitled, “Towards Peace and Prosperity in Asia and the World” at the plenary session. The full text is as follows:
Esteemed Chairman, and Ladies and Gentlemen,
Representing the Japanese Communist Party, I congratulate you on successfully holding the 6th General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties. I also express my feeling of solidarity to all the representatives of the political parties coming from all over Asia, whether they are in the government or in the opposition.
We are honored to be invited to this conference held here in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, under the theme of “Asia’s Quest for a Better Tomorrow.” I salute and extend my solidarity to the government and the people of Cambodia, who stood up against the indescribable terror and genocide under the Khmer Rouge regime and who continue with nation-building efforts in the spirit of independence, peace, freedom, and prosperity, overcoming a multitude of difficulties.
I hope to make a humble contribution under the theme of “Asia’s Quest for a Better Tomorrow,” hoping that this Phnom Penh meeting will further advance the achievements of the previous five general assemblies.
After a decade since the birth of the ICAPP in Manila, the venue of the general assembly is back to an ASEAN member state. I note with enthusiasm that in the past decade, ASEAN has developed into a regional community for peace, whose activities have made a great contribution to peace in Asia and the world.
It is highly significant that the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation of South East Asia has now 58 member countries, with 70% of the world population under its umbrella, and is developing into a vast current encompassing many countries in Asia, Europe, Oceania and North America, ever since the treaty was concluded in 1976 by the ASEAN member states based on the United Nations Charter and the Bandung declaration, aiming for the peaceful resolution of disputes and the prohibition of the use of force.
Inclusive regional communities of nations are developing the world over, replacing the exclusive military alliances that had been formed against the presupposed enemy. The communities of nations are spreading to South East Asia, Central Asia, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Thus, a global network for peace is emerging. This is the way to guarantee peace, progress, prosperity and friendship among peoples in Asia and the world. I would like to emphasize this point.
Unfortunately, in North East Asia, there remain many problems yet to be solved. Needless to say, we must strictly reject any use of force or military provocation in violation of the United Nations Charter. We call for the early resumption of the Six-party talks, under which efforts to solve the nuclear question of the DPRK should be made. I sincerely hope that the framework of the Six-party talks will manage to solve the longstanding dispute, and later develop into a multilateral institution to support peace and stability in the region. Territorial disputes must be solved through peaceful and diplomatic means based on objective historical facts and international law. Political differences between states must not be made into obstacles to peaceful economic and cultural exchanges.
Let me express our party’s view on the diplomatic role the Japanese government should play in promoting peace. Japan has a constitution whose Article 9 renounces war and the use of force and prohibits having a standing military. In order to help bring peace and stability to North East Asia, the Japanese government should pursue an independent foreign policy in order to establish peaceful relationships with Asian nations, moving away from the present policy of unconditionally following U.S. policy. It must persistently engage in attempts to solve problems through peaceful diplomatic means, not laying disproportionate emphasis on possible military responses. I stress that only through a sincere reflection on Japan's past war of aggression and colonial rule, can Japan pave the way to a just and fair solution of disputes and build a peaceful and friendly relationship with other Asian nations.
From this perspective, the Japanese Communist Party is determined to help extend to North East Asia the peaceful current that has originated here in South East Asia.
The draft Phnom Penh Declaration regards poverty and environmental degradation, especially climate change as “the gravest threats confronting humankind in our time” and calls for our united efforts to find a solution to address these challenges.
To overcome these two challenges confronting humanity, I believe it is of the utmost importance for developed countries to recognize their own historical responsibility in creating these problems and take the lead in the endeavor to solve the questions.
Poverty eradication requires unqualified assistance from developed countries to developing nations. Throughout this process, the developed countries need to strictly respect the economic sovereignty of developing countries and accept that every country has its own approach to economic development. In the past, aid donors were in the position to rule over aid recipients. The relations between donors and recipients should not be a relation of ruler and ruled as existed in the past. We must also draw historical lessons from the serious failure caused by the imposition of neoliberal economic models. In addition, official development aid should be provided in a way that contributes to the self-reliant and autonomous development of developing countries. It must be “untied” aid, mainly directed at improving basic living conditions and social services. In addition, we need to increase the ratio of aid to the least developed countries relative to the total amount of aid to the developing countries. We will continue to urge the Japanese government to adopt this standpoint in order to truly work to overcome poverty in Asia and around the world.
Regarding the climate change question, we must stress that developed countries are most historically responsible for global warming, and are thus required to undertake the following “dual responsibilities,” according to the principle of the “common but differentiated responsibility” stipulated in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:
1) take the initiative in setting up aggressive, binding, mid-and long-term emission reduction targets, and implement them on their own regardless of what other countries might or might not do;
2) allow developing countries path for economic growth different from the one developed countries have followed, and provide appropriate assistance in both expertise and resources.
On that basis, developing nations are also required to take appropriate actions because at stake is the fate of the entire human race. Certainly, the “right to development” should be guaranteed for developing countries to achieve a level of development similar to developed countries. It is indispensable for developed countries to provide increased assistance to developing countries so that they can work out a path for sustainable development with decreased emissions, as opposed to the developed nations’ past course of unsustainable development accompanied by massive greenhouse gas emissions. Premised on such efforts on the part of developed countries, developing nations are expected to proactively join in an internationally binding reduction framework.
Based on this position, we have to make sincere efforts to conclude an international treaty to tackle climate change beyond 2013.
Japan served as the chair for international conferences which adopted two main treaties to protect the global environment; one is the Kyoto Protocol that is to prevent global warming, and the other is the Nagoya Protocol that was adopted in October of this year at the 10th Conference of Parties to the Biodiversity Treaty (COP 10). The JCP is determined to step up its efforts to oblige Japan to play an appropriate role.
I would like to take up another “grave challenge” facing humanity. That is the challenge “a world without nuclear weapons.”
The Astana Declaration, adopted at the ICAPP General Assembly held in September 2009, stated that “a world, including all regions, without nuclear weapons should be objective.” Since then, we have seen major advances in international efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons.
The final document unanimously adopted by the NPT Review Conference at the UN Headquarters in New York, May 2010, stats as follows:
1) “All States need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons”; and
2) It “notes the (five-point) proposals for nuclear disarmament of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to ... consider negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention.”
This is an important step forward toward achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.
On August 6 this year, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon participated in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial ceremony, the first time for a UN Secretary-General to do so. He said, “Together, we are on a journey from ground zero to global zero -- a world free of weapons of mass destruction. That is the only sane path to a safer world. For as long as nuclear weapons exist, we will live under a nuclear shadow.”
The quest for “a world without nuclear weapons,” which we called for at Astana, has now come to represent the overwhelming opinion of the world, including the nuclear-weapons states. The surest way to eliminate the nuclear threat to humanity is to eliminate all nuclear weapons. This fact is being accepted worldwide. Starting international negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention has become reality in the international political agenda.
I wholeheartedly support that the draft Phnom Penh declaration, based on these developments, states as follows:
“We support in particular the international agreement that ‘all States need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons,’ as stated in the final Document unanimously adopted in 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, as well as the United Nations General Secretary’s five point proposal which includes negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention.”
I firmly believe the declaration would be a great encouragement to international efforts and the peoples’ movement to achieve “a world without nuclear weapons.”
I also believe nuclear weapons free zones which have been spreading in Asia and the world are of great importance for the realization of a nuclear free world. I propose that the Phnom Penh declaration place emphasis on the importance of the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, the Treaty on a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in Central Asia, and Mongolia's declaration of nuclear weapons free status, and on our commitment to support convening a conference on the establishment of a Middle East nuclear weapons free zone.
On behalf of a political party that has worked resolutely since the end of WWII for the elimination of nuclear weapons in Japan, the only A-bombed country, let me conclude my speech with the pledge that we will exert every effort to enlarge the path toward achieving "a world without nuclear weapons."
Thank you very much for your attention.
- Akahata, December 3, 2010