Peace Proposal 2010

Toward a New Era of Value Creation

Toward a world without nuclear weapons

In a proposal I wrote last year (September 2009), I offered a five-part plan for laying the foundation for a world free from nuclear weapons, including the promotion of various disarmament efforts and making the transition to security arrangements that are not reliant on nuclear weapons. At the same time, I reaffirmed my longstanding conviction that if we are to put the era of nuclear terror behind us, we must struggle against the real “enemy.” That enemy is not nuclear weapons per se, nor is it the states that possess or develop them. The real enemy that we must confront is the ways of thinking that justify nuclear weapons; the readiness to annihilate others when they are seen as a threat or as a hindrance to the realization of our objectives.

My proposals should be considered as a series of steps to overcome and transform the thinking that justifies nuclear weapons and to strengthen the momentum toward their abolition.

The first of these is to work, based on the existing NPT system, to expand the frameworks defining a clear legal obligation not to use nuclear weapons, in this way laying the institutional foundations for reducing their role in national security.

The second is to include the threat or use of nuclear weapons among the war crimes falling under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC), further clarifying the norm that nuclear weapons are indeed weapons that must never be used.

The third is to create a system, based on the United Nations Charter, for the General Assembly and the Security Council to work together for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

None of these proposals will be easy to implement, but all of them build on existing institutional foundations. They are by no means unreachable goals. It is my earnest wish that the NPT Review Conference to be held in May will initiate movement toward these goals and that they can be implemented within five years. Such efforts should culminate in a nuclear abolition summit in 2015-to be held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki seventy years after the nuclear attacks that devastated these two cities-which would effectively signal the end of the era of nuclear weapons.

Expanding frameworks for non-use of nuclear weapons

To date, the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZ) has represented an effort to fill the gap in the legal framework left by the absence of any treaty or convention providing a blanket prohibition against the use of nuclear weapons. In 2009, NWFZ treaties entered into force in Central Asia and Africa. These followed similar agreements covering Latin America and the Caribbean, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. The decision by so many governments to eliminate nuclear weapons from so many regions around the world is truly significant.

Although the preamble to the NPT, which entered into force forty years ago, calls on signatories to “make every effort to avert the danger of such a war and to take measures to safeguard the security of peoples,” it is clear that the nuclear-weapon states have not fulfilled that obligation.

The NPT does not, of course, accord these countries an open-ended right to possess nuclear weapons. Despite this, their continued adherence to the doctrine of nuclear deterrence has had the effect of encouraging both “vertical proliferation” (expanded and enhanced nuclear arsenals within nuclear-weapon states) and “horizontal proliferation” (the spread of nuclear technologies to other states and entities). The real-world effect has been to shake and undermine the foundations of the NPT regime itself.

The time has come for the nuclear-weapon states to develop a shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons and to break free from the spell of deterrence-the illusory belief that security can somehow be realized through threats of mutual destruction and a balance of terror. A new kind of thinking is needed, one based on working together to reduce threats and creating ever-expanding circles of physical and psychological security until these embrace the entire world.

As evidence of the nuclear-weapon states’ genuine resolve to move beyond deterrence, I urge them to undertake the following three commitments at the 2010 NPT Review Conference and to work to fully implement them by 2015.

1. To reach a legally binding agreement to extend negative security assurances-the undertaking not to use nuclear weapons against any of the non-nuclear-weapon states fulfilling their obligations under the NPT.

2. To initiate negotiation on a treaty codifying the promise not to use nuclear weapons against each other.

3. Where nuclear-weapon-free zones have yet to be established, and as a bridging measure toward their establishment, to take steps to declare them nuclear non-use regions.

I have no intention of underestimating the difficulties that lie in the way of realizing these commitments, especially the second and third. But it is important to stress that these are political decisions that the nuclear-weapon states can take now while maintaining their current status as possessors of nuclear weapons.

Regarding pledges of mutual non-use, even an agreement limited to the United States and Russia would be a watershed event that would produce a major reduction in perceived threats, from which alliance partners would equally benefit. It would also provide an opening for reviewing the extraterritorial deployment of warheads and missile defense programs as steps toward the gradual dismantling of the nuclear umbrella.

As demonstrated in the final report of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, a joint initiative of the Australian and Japanese governments, issued in December 2009, there are increasing calls from within countries living under a nuclear umbrella for a review of traditional nuclear doctrine.

Among the benefits of establishing declared nuclear non-use regions would be to encourage progress toward global denuclearization and a comprehensive system to prevent the proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction and forestall the dire possibility of nuclear terrorism. The aim would be to transform the confrontational stance prevailing in certain regions-including those where the nuclear-weapon states or their allies are present-of meeting threat with threat. What should be encouraged instead is the approach of mutual threat reduction exemplified by the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program instituted between the United States and the states of the former Soviet Union in the wake of the Cold War.

Regrettably, the NPT in its current form does not include provisions for reducing threats and offering mutual assurances that can enhance confidence. If progress can be made on negotiations toward these goals on a regional basis, it will make even more salient the physical and psychological security offered by participation in disarmament frameworks, as opposed to the further deepening of isolation on the outside. This will in turn reduce motivations to develop or acquire nuclear weapons.

If, through these systems, expanding circles of physical and psychological security can be created to encompass not only countries relying on the nuclear umbrellas of nuclear-weapon states, but also North Korea and Iran, as well as countries such as India, Pakistan and Israel that are currently not part of the NPT framework, this would represent a major breakthrough toward the goal of global denuclearization.

The list of treaties that should ideally be ratified by countries within a declared nuclear non-use region would include: the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Nuclear Terrorism Convention, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Treaty. Looking forward, the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty should be added to this list when it is finalized.

In these efforts, a multilayered approach is required. As U.S. President John F. Kennedy (1917-63) stated: “There is no single, simple key to this peace-no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts.”

In the proposal I issued last September, I called for all the countries currently engaged in the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program-China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States-to declare Northeast Asia a nuclear non-use region as a step toward the denuclearization of the region including, of course, the abandonment of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. I strongly hope that discussions will be initiated toward the establishment of such systems in regions like the Middle East and South Asia where tensions have long run high.

Clarifying the illegality of the use of nuclear weapons

My second proposal regards establishing norms that make explicit the illegality of the use of nuclear weapons.

To date, treaties have been established comprehensively banning the development and manufacture, possession and stockpiling, transfer or acquisition of biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction. The 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibiting the use of these weapons was adopted in light of the enormous suffering wrought by the use of poison gas in World War I and represented an important step toward these comprehensive bans.

The Protocol notes the condemnation of the use of chemical weapons by international public opinion, declaring its prohibition to be “universally accepted as a part of International Law, binding alike the conscience and the practice of nations.” The Protocol stipulates a similar prohibition on the use of biological weapons.

Today, the thought of the possession, much less the use, of chemical or biological weapons by any state inspires widespread revulsion in the international community; the dishonor associated with them has become firmly established. We need to give concrete form to a similar recognition regarding nuclear weapons, which are undoubtedly the most inhumane of all.

At the annual conference of United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) NGOs held in September 2009 in Mexico City, which SGI representatives attended, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that “nuclear weapons are immoral and should not be accorded any military value.” The time has come for those in positions of leadership to acknowledge that nuclear weapons are abhorrent and militarily useless.

As the course of events leading up to the comprehensive bans on chemical and biological weapons demonstrates, the first step toward bringing the era of nuclear weapons to a decisive close must be the establishment of norms prohibiting their use.

More than half a century ago, in September 1957, my mentor Josei Toda issued a declaration condemning nuclear weapons as an absolute evil never to be used under any circumstance. In the years that followed, the UN General Assembly adopted a series of resolutions declaring their use a crime against humanity and civilization. And yet, a clear legal norm in this regard has yet to be established.

In 1996, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an Advisory Opinion on the threat or use of nuclear weapons: “the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to … the principles and rules of humanitarian law.” The court, however, refrained from offering its opinion regarding the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons “in an extreme circumstance of self-defence, in which the very survival of a State would be at stake.” So long as this critical question remains unresolved, it will be possible to develop justifications for the use of nuclear weapons, and this is why we must clearly establish the norms that will render nuclear weapons truly unusable.

Judge Christopher Weeramantry, president of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, was one of the judges participating in the case. He issued a separate opinion expressing his view that “the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is illegal in any circumstances whatsoever.” In his book Universalising International Law, he emphasizes that reflecting the voices and views of ordinary citizens contributes to making international law more universal and points out the importance of “[t]he views of peoples as constituting opinio juris.

Looking back on the history of nuclear weapons, we can see that when situations of crisis and extreme danger arose, they were averted and breakthroughs were achieved, and the idea that nuclear weapons can be used was steadily eroded. This was realized through the synergistic interaction of the practical and moral restraint exercised by political leaders and the growing weight of international public opinion that any repetition of the horrors of nuclear weapons use must be avoided at all costs.

For example, the first restriction on nuclear weapons development, the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, was adopted through the efforts of U.S. and Soviet leaders who had together peered into the abyss of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis and against the backdrop of the citizens movement to “ban the bomb” led by Linus Pauling (1901-94) and other scientists.

Likewise, the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the first agreement to actually reduce the number of nuclear weapons, was adopted through a series of U.S.-Soviet summit meetings and had as its backdrop the shock of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster. Another crucial factor behind this redirection of policy was the vocal public opposition to the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe in the 1980s.

While these steps may represent only limited progress in and of themselves, they reflect the steadily deepening awareness within international society that nuclear weapons must never be used and that steps must be taken to contain the threat they pose. This fact is all the more striking if we recall that in the immediate aftermath of World War II nuclear weapons were considered to be no more than extremely destructive conventional weapons whose eventual use was widely considered inevitable.

No matter how great the divide between our ideals and reality may be, there is no need to give up hope or accept this with resignation. Instead, the ordinary citizens of the world need to come together to create a new reality. The prohibitions on land mines and cluster weapons that have been realized in recent years are the fruit of such solidarity.

Last year I called for a movement in support of a “declaration for nuclear abolition by the world’s people” that could be jointly promoted by individuals, organizations, spiritual and religious groups, universities and research institutions, as well as agencies within the UN system.

In conjunction with this, I call on this occasion for a movement to amend the Statute of the International Criminal Court to define the use of nuclear weapons as a war crime.

We should embrace the goal of making the prohibition of nuclear weapons the shared norm and aspiration of all humankind by 2015, the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We must use the establishment of this norm to clear the way toward the complete abolition of nuclear weapons-the fervent desire of the survivors of the nuclear attacks and people the world over.

Many states participating in the negotiations leading up to the establishment of the ICC in 1998 urged that the use of nuclear weapons be included as a war crime falling under the jurisdiction of the court. However, this was not reflected in the final language of the Rome Statute as it was adopted. I urged reconsideration of this in the peace proposal I wrote the following year. In November 2009, at the eighth session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Mexico proposed this amendment to the Statute, and a working group has been established to consider this, together with other revisions. I welcome this development and the important opportunities it presents.

The states that are not party to the ICC, especially nuclear-weapon states, should be invited to participate in the debates on this question as observers. What is important is for the representatives of as many governments as possible to confront, through a process of earnest debate, the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons and the intolerable threat they pose. The objective of the proposed revision is obviously not to punish the actual use of nuclear weapons but to establish a clear norm that such use is always and under any circumstance unacceptable.

For the members of the SGI, the declaration made by second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda calling for the prohibition of nuclear weapons remains our enduring source of inspiration. Drawing from this, we have, for the past half-century, continued to stress the horrors of nuclear weapons, raising public awareness and generating support for their abolition. In September 2007, on the fiftieth anniversary of Toda’s declaration, the SGI launched the People’s Decade for Nuclear Abolition; we have also been working with the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) promoted by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) to encourage adoption of a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC) comprehensively banning these weapons. I am convinced that amending the Statute of the ICC to make the use of nuclear weapons a war crime would spark further momentum toward the adoption of an NWC.

From the start of 2010, the members of the Soka Gakkai in Japan, in particular the youth membership, have been engaged in grassroots dialogue to deepen awareness among their peers of the nuclear issue; they have also been collecting signatures in support of an NWC to be presented to the NPT Review Conference in May. It is the essential nature of youth to remain undeterred by any difficulty, to resist the overwhelming currents of reality and to live committed to the realization of the highest ideals. If the key to the prohibition of nuclear weapons lies in mustering an overwhelming expression of popular will, it is in the solidarity of young people dedicated to this cause that the energy to transform the age will be found.

To date, the exhibition “From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit” created by the SGI in 2007 has been held in fifty cities in twenty-two countries. We have also produced a five-language DVD documenting the experiences of atomic bomb survivors, “Testimonies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Women Speak Out for Peace.” Determined to fulfill the mission bequeathed to us by Josei Toda, we will continue to use these educational tools as vehicles for creating an irresistible tide of popular energy for the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons.

Using Article 26 to advance disarmament

The third major theme I would like to discuss regards collaborative efforts by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council for nuclear abolition, based on the United Nations Charter.

Presently, the United States and Russia are engaged in negotiations toward a new nuclear disarmament treaty to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) 1, which technically expired last year. Even the most ambitious reductions being negotiated between the two countries, however, would still leave an enormous number of nuclear warheads on Earth.

In order to effectively advance nuclear weapons reductions, it is essential to expand the nuclear disarmament framework beyond these two countries, to include all states that possess nuclear weapons. To this end, I would like to propose a process for developing and implementing a roadmap toward a world free of nuclear weapons based on the United Nations Charter, which all the relevant governments are pledged to uphold.

Article 11 of the UN Charter states that the General Assembly “may consider the general principles of co-operation in the maintenance of international peace and security, including the principles governing disarmament and the regulation of armaments, and may make recommendations with regard to such principles to the Members or to the Security Council or to both.”

Further, Article 26 clearly states that the Security Council has responsibility for formulating plans for a system for the regulation of armaments in order to “promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources….”

To date, the General Assembly has, based on Article 11, engaged actively in questions of disarmament. In contrast, the Security Council has failed to fulfill this role, leaving Article 26 essentially dormant for all these years. This is one of the reasons why the Security Council Summit on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament held last September was so significant. In order to fulfill the commitment made at that time to “create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons,” the Security Council-whose five permanent members are all nuclear-weapon states-should take the lead in establishing a venue for multilateral disarmament negotiations through, for example, a series of summit meetings with the participation of the UN Secretary-General.

One action that could be taken by the General Assembly would be to build on the accumulated record of resolutions dedicated to the goal of nuclear weapons abolition. The General Assembly could start issuing, on an annual basis, recommendations to the Security Council urging it to fulfill its responsibility by achieving a specified minimum reduction of nuclear weapons. To strengthen the moral authority of this recommendation, it could be accompanied by reports by states on actions they have taken proactively toward reducing tensions and promoting disarmament.

It goes without saying that ultimate responsibility for abolishing nuclear weapons lies with the nuclear-weapon states. But there is no need for the non-nuclear-weapon states to wait passively for arms reduction negotiations to be completed. They can, through their own actions, generate pressure for abolition in order to bring about its more speedy realization. Such efforts would clearly be in line with the path set out by the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion that “any realistic search for general and complete disarmament, especially nuclear disarmament, necessitates the co-operation of all States.”

Further, the General Assembly, by expressing through these resolutions the will of international society for nuclear disarmament, can encourage ambitious efforts by various countries to reduce tensions. This could in turn become, in the words of Costa Rica’s 2008 call for the Security Council to establish a system for the regulation of armaments based on Article 26, a means “to overcome the vicious armaments race that seems to be gaining momentum in several regions of the world, competing with the prioritization of social expenditure and the international agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, and negatively affecting human security.”

In an era when all societies must come together to respond to the common challenges facing humankind, such as poverty and environmental destruction, military spending has absorbed far too much of the world’s limited human and economic resources. Nuclear weapons, in particular, are a fundamental evil that cannot resolve in any way the complex of global issues, but only exacerbate them.

Jayantha Dhanapala, president of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, and Patricia Lewis, deputy director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, are both internationally renowned experts on disarmament issues. In a jointly written preface to a United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) report, they urge that in any discussion of disarmament, whether it concerns small arms or weapons of mass destruction, the human security aspect must be given first priority. “We need to mainstream disarmament to put it back in its rightful place: at the core of our thinking on people-centred security. Disarmament is humanitarian action.”

Based on this principle, I strongly urge that all efforts be made to fully implement Article 26 of the United Nations Charter so that the Security Council fulfills its disarmament obligations, strengthening impetus toward nuclear abolition and the demilitarization of our planet.

As a country that experienced nuclear attack, Japan has for more than a decade sponsored General Assembly resolutions calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Japan also espouses the three non-nuclear principles (not possessing, not producing and not permitting the introduction of nuclear weapons into its territory) as well as three principles regarding weapons exports. Japan should pledge its firm adherence to these two sets of principles as it takes the lead in mustering global public opinion for nuclear abolition.

In November of last year, Japan and the United States issued a joint statement declaring their intent to work actively to create the conditions for the achievement of the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Japan will serve as a member of the Security Council this year, and should take this opportunity to strongly encourage the United States and other nuclear-weapon states to make progress on disarmament. In this and other ways, Japan has a unique duty and responsibility to work for the realization of a nuclear-weapon-free world.

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