Hiroshima 2014: A case for world free of nuclear weapons
The 8th ministerial meeting of the NonProliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) was held in Hiroshima, Japan were the Atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945 to herald the end of the World War II. This report looks at the outcome of the meeting especially humanitarian effects of nuclear arms. survivors called Hibakushas and invite the world’s political leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki to also witness the consequences with their own eyes.
The declaration states that quantitative reductions should be accompanied by steps towards reducing the role and significance of nuclear weapons in security strategies and military doctrines. These steps are important contributions towards the goal of complete nuclear disarmament and will be mutually reinforcing with further quantitative reductions. It states that while it acknowledge steps that have been taken in this regard, the NPDI urged nuclearweapon states to further reduce the role of nuclear weapons and urged others who have not done so to start reducing the role of nuclear weapons in their security strategies and military doctrines.
But the NPDI said it is deeply concerned and frustrated with the continued stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament (CD). “We regret that the CD has failed to fulfill its mandate as the single multilateral disarmament negotiations forum of the international community for more than 18 years. It is time for the CD’s Member States to take bold steps towards fulfilling the CD’s mandate and resume negotiations,” it stated.
As an essential step towards a world free of nuclear weapons, the ministers said the immediate commencement of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and universally and effectively verifiable treaty to ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices that serves both disarmament and non-proliferation purposes remains a priority. As such, it said it welcome and look forward to the work of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on this issue, which just ended its first session in Geneva recently. It therefore urged the CD to launch negotiations on such a treaty as soon as possible. Pending the conclusion of such negotiations, it stated, all nuclear-weapon States and other States in possession of nuclear weapons should declare and maintain a moratorium on the production The 8th ministerial meeting of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) which held in Hiroshima, Japan on April 12th turned its attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of any nuclear weapon on mankind.
The 12-member nations of the body therefore called in strong terms for the nearly 69-year record of non-use of nuclear weapons be extended forever.
In what could be termed “Hiroshima Declaration” the NPDI established four years ago was also worried about the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons as expressed in the 2010 Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference Final Document.
In a statement the body explained that: “The catastrophic humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons fundamentally underpins all work to succeed in our non-proliferation efforts and to achieve nuclear disarmament in pursuit of a more secure world.”
NPDI member-countries are Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, the Philippines, Poland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
The ministers in the meeting held in Hiroshima which witnessed the devastation of the Atomic bomb dropped on August 6, 1945 said the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons should be inclusive and universal as well as a catalyst for a united global action towards the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.
Indeed the NPDI in the declaration was categorical about why the meeting was held in Hiroshima. It said: “we gathered here in Hiroshima, where an atomic bomb was dropped for the first time in human history, and witnessed first-hand the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of an atomic bombing that last even to this present day.” It also said they are touched very deeply by the testimonies of atomic bomb of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons.
Besides, the NPDI, as a group of non-nuclear-weapon States which are committed to promoting nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, is following with grave concern the situation in Ukraine, which has been the subject of intensive discussions in NPDI as well as at the UN General Assembly.
Also, the NPDI said it expects international obligations and commitments to be respected, including the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Also contributing to the nuclear disarmament issue, the Chairperson, Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation and Secretary General, Mayors for Peace, Mr. Yasuyoshi Komizo said the greatest responsibility towards nuclear control and elimination lies with the leaders in the United Nations (UN).
He said countries with nuclear weapons must think about the humanitarian catastrophe it would cost the world rather show for military might. The chairperson said though people have their cultural, religious and ethnic differences, the overall consideration of belonging to a human community should be uppermost in the issue of nuclear weapons disarmament.
Komizo who worked at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with its former Director General Mohammed el-Baradie pointed out that nuclear nations must have a change of heart towards the effect on humanity.
He told journalists during a dialogue in Hiroshima that sustainable peace cuts across all generations but the younger generation must be involved in the campaign against nuclear weapons.
Besides, the Commissioner, Japan Atomic Energy Commissioner, Nobuyasu Abe expressed concern about the incapacity of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to adequately monitor nuclear developments across the globe due to limited budget.
Also, he said though there are fissile materials in Japan in the past forty years for research purposes and so far the country has not developed nuclear weapons since then shows that it has no intention to do so now or in the future.
He expressed satisfactory with the NPDI meeting in Hiroshima saying for asking countries with nuclear weapons to join in the negotiations especially US and Russia is a step forward and the focus on the terrible humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons is a strong reference at the meeting.
Abe said the call on nuclear nations to be transparent in their dealings is a good step forward and for the meeting to hold in Hiroshima to meet with the people hear and listen to the people and the survivors in addition to look at the “legacies” of the Atomic bomb is a unique opportunity.
In Hiroshima, when the bomb was detonated, in a swoop, within two kilometres of the hypo centre most buildings were totally destroyed, about 2000 to 6500 children are orphaned with about 70, 000 burnt to ashes. And within few months, people others died from leukemia and other infections from the bomb.
The humanitarian consequences of the Atomic bomb could be best appreciated with the testimony of one of the victims Ms. Emiko Okada who was eight years old when it was dropped in Hiroshima in 1945 said the situation was frightening than one could ever imagine. Even after 69 years, Okada’s emotions are still high and could recall clearly events of the day where in a flash the whole city was destroyed and people crying for water and nothing nobody could help.
She who lost her elder sister on that day said her younger brother is still traumatised about the bombing and is still withdrawn uptill now with stresses of some dementia and never wanted to discuss about the event.
Okada said: “The crisis I have seen in Hiroshima is enough. Why must people suffer? People were vomiting not only blood but something black. I hope such thing does not happen again.”
Ironically, the direct victims of the Atomic bomb are the ones calling for peace and the need to stop nuclear proliferation and disarmament despite the fact that they witnessed the devastation of the A-bomb.
Remains of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Hall after the atomic bomb on August 6, 1945