Support NWC

In order to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons, we strongly believe the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC) is a necessary, feasible and urgent agenda. This is a concept that has begun to attract the world's attention: Now is the time to push it strongly.
This page introduces some resources for learning about an NWC. If you would like to support this initiative, please follow the icon below and sign a petition.

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What is an NWC?

What is an NWC?

What is a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC)?

In today's world, there exist treaties that comprehensively outlaw weapons of mass destruction such as chemical and biological weapons, as well as heinous instruments of war such as landmines and cluster munitions. However, there is no such treaty covering nuclear weapons, even though they are the most destructive weapons on Earth, and have killed hundreds of thousands of people in previous wars and tests.

A Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC) is a treaty that would comprehensively ban nuclear weapons, prohibiting their development, testing, production, stockpiling, transfer, use and threat of use.

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Why is it necessary?

The dander that someone, somewhere, some day, will use nuclear weapons is growing ever greater. There are many reasons for this:

  • ・ Increased access to knowledge of how to construct a bomb;
  • ・ Increasing availability of the materials with which to make a bomb;
  • ・ Increasing numbers of people desperate enough to use a bomb;
  • ・ Lack of inventories and inadequate security of fissile (nuclear explosive) materials;
  • ・ Lack of international resolve to ban the bomb and banish it from the arsenals of the world;
  • ・ Complete lack of progress on and, indeed, reversals of hard-won nuclear disarmament gains;
  • ・ Increased threats to use nuclear weapons, including preemptively, against non-nuclear threats and named countries;
  • ・ Ineffectiveness of safeguards and other measures to prevent uranium enrichment and the reprocessing of spent reactor fuel to extract plutonium, both of which fuel nuclear proliferation.

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Is it feasible?

Some countries are eager to lead the process. Our survey conducted in eight countries shows that the majority of youth support this idea. What is important is to draw together this public opinion and transform it into one powerful initiative.

It is important to remember the examples of the treaties that ban landmines and cluster bombs. In both cases, it was widely thought that the time for a treaty had not yet come and it was too early to establish. But civil society’s calls changed governments' attitudes and led them to tackle those tasks, with the result they were successfully established.

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Is it urgent?

Unlike during the Cold War era, people no longer seem to feel the imminent threat and personal relevance of nuclear issues. Rather, they seem at least passively to accept the notion that nuclear weapons are a “necessary evil.” They feel hopeless and powerless in the face of this gigantic and complex problem, which it seems can only be addressed by governments.

But resignation is a luxury we cannot afford. With thousands of nuclear warheads still in existence, together with the threat of nuclear terrorism, the current situation is untenable. Humanity is, in the words of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, “sleepwalking towards disaster.”

One of the turning points was a speech delivered in Prague by Barack Obama, President of the United States, in April of 2009, stating that we should seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. Since then the momentum has been getting stronger.

Many activists and experts recognize that this momentum is so precious that civil society should grasp it and transform it into concrete form through the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons Convention.

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What is the current status of progress toward an NWC?

As mentioned above, the model has already been created. Malaysia and Costa Rica brought it to the discussion of the UN in 1997. A revised version of the model convention was submitted to the UN Secretary-General as a discussion draft in 2007.

In 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the first time as UN Secretary-General pointed out the necessity of giving consideration to it. Following his statement, civil society is supporting his initiative powerfully. The final document of the NPT Review Conference 2010 mentioned it as well.

Raising awareness among ordinary people is the key to changing the way of thinking of the decision makers.

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How can we eliminate nuclear weapons?

The model convention outlines a series of five phases for the elimination of nuclear weapons:

  • ・ Taking nuclear weapons off alert;
  • ・ Removing weapons from deployment;
  • ・ Removing nuclear warheads from their delivery vehicles;
  • ・ Disabling the warheads, removing and disfiguring the “pits”; and
  • ・ Placing the fissile material under international control.

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What would happen should any country try to use or develop nuclear weapons, in breach of international agreement?

With an NWC, such countries would receive very strong condemnation from all over the world, and would be completely isolated from the international community. But no country can survive in that way in an interconnected world as we see today. An NWC can powerfully work as a normative standard that will constrain the way countries behave.

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What can I do to support an NWC?

First, it is important to be more informed about an NWC. Then, talk about it with your family, friends and colleagues. The more people get to know about an NWC, the more the media will write and broadcast about it, since the media take interest in what people are interested in. Governments cannot ignore the power of the media today.

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What is SGI's stance?

SGI is strongly supporting an NWC.

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda has long expressed his support of the idea of such a treaty in his annual peace proposals. In 2009 he proposed initiating a movement in support of a “declaration for nuclear abolition by the world's people” in his proposal entitled “Building Global Solidarity Toward Nuclear Abolition.”

Following this proposal, Youth Division members of Soka Gakkai in Japan launched a petition drive endorsing an NWC in the first quarter of the year 2010. They gathered more than 2.2 million signatures and presented them to the UN and the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

You can sign the petition on this website from here.

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