Shii reports on historic UN conference to create N-ban treaty

April 8, 2017

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on April 7 in the JCP head office reported on the first UN conference on a legally-binding instrument banning nuclear weapons which was held in New York from March 27 to 31.

Shii took part in the conference as head of the JCP delegation and as a member of the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND). He delivered a speech at the meeting on March 29.

In his report, Shii highlighted three historic, epoch-making points in regard to the UN conference.

The first point is that multilateral negotiations over a treaty banning nuclear weapons have started for the first time in the postwar history.

Shii stressed the importance of the fact that a majority of UN member nations has taken a step forward to make a nuclear ban treaty while nuclear weapons states keep turning their backs on the move to abolish nuclear arms.

The second is that the UN conference consisted of international civil society as well as national governments.

During the five-day meeting, along with government delegates, civil society representatives were given opportunities to speak. Shii noted that the speeches made by Hibakusha (A-bomb survivors) and victims of nuclear tests in particular touched the audience, indicating the conference’s ethical stance.

The third is that this international event clearly revealed which nation supports and which nation opposes the abolition of nuclear weapons.

The U.S. ambassador to the UN boycotted the conference, criticizing a nuclear weapons ban treaty as “unrealistic”. The delegate of the Japanese government attended the meeting but declared that Japan will not join in negotiations.

Shii condemned the Abe administration, saying that it is shameful that the government of the only A-bombed nation in the world acted like an errand boy for nuclear powers. He noted that in light of this situation, it is especially significant that the JCP played a role in the move to outlaw nuclear weapons in collaboration with delegates of many other governments and civic organizations.

Shii also reported on the activities of the JCP delegation. He referred to the meetings he had with Kim Won-soo, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, and Elayne Whyte, the president of the UN conference. He added that the delegation also had talks with representatives of 38 national governments and organizations in order to realize a success of the international meeting.

In those talks and meetings, JCP delegates argued that it is vital for many countries to conclude a legally-binding convention to prohibit nuclear arms even if nuclear weapons states refuse to join in the treaty initially.

Shii pointed out that this call issued by a Japanese political party attracted much attention and encouraged many participants. He emphasized that the JCP activities meshed with the mission of the UN conference and contributed to its success.

Shii went on to note that it depends on international public opinion and grass-roots movements whether this epochal move toward a nuclear-weapons-free world will bear fruit. He called for further intensifying the ongoing International Signature Campaign in Support of the Appeal of the Hibakusha for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

The JCP chair gave his impression of the meeting, stating that despite various countercurrents and complications, the world is steadily going down the path for peace and social progress.

Shii said that the UN conference was led by developing nations with advanced nations following their lead. He stressed that a new shape of the world emerging in the 21st century is shown by the fact that these countries united together to achieve the meeting’s success in the face of the resistance of the P5 nations.

“The important thing in today’s world is not the size of a country. Even a small country, if it argues reasonably, will be able to earn the respect of other countries and make a significant contribution to the world. In contrast, a nation which claims unreasonably and just goes along with whatever major powers say will be given the cold shoulder,” said Shii.

Referring to the fact that a JCP representative delivered an address at a UN meeting for the first time, Shii stated that the JCP’s participation in this UN conference dramatically expanded the scale of its “opposition-party diplomacy”.

At the conclusion of his report, Shii said, “The UN conference opened our eyes to a hopeful, vibrant image of today’s world. Through taking part in the meeting, we made many new friends as well. With confidence built by the solidarity shown, let’s redouble our efforts to create peace, make progress, and open the way for Japan’s new politics.”

The Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party
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