136 Japanese legislators join global nuclear disarmament statement

Supporters include former foreign ministers, ambassadors and chairs of key committees.

Endorsements arrive in New York on the eve of the first meeting of the UN negotiations for a nuclear ban treaty.

136 Japanese legislators this week endorsed ‘A Nuclear-Weapon-Free World: Our Common Good’, a joint statement of legislators and religious leaders from around the world which warns about ‘the risks of a nuclear catastrophe, whether by accident, intent or miscalculation’ and calls upon ‘world leaders to commit to nuclear abolition and to replace nuclear deterrence with shared security approaches to conflicts.’

Mayors for Peace, Religions for Peace and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), who organised the statement, plan to present it to the new United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and to all UN member countries to support nuclear disarmament initiatives at the United Nations.

Representatives of Mayors for Peace, Religions for Peace and PNND finalise the joint statement 'A Nuclear Weapon Free World: Our Common Good'.

‘This statement is very important to help reverse the nuclear threats that have developed in recent weeks,’ said Alyn Ware, PNND Global Coordinator. 

‘President Putin has indicated that he might move Russian tactical nuclear weapons towards Europe. North Korea has just tested a ballistic missile bringing it closer to be able to deliver nuclear weapons. US President Trump has made cavalier statements about the use of nuclear weapons and appeared to undermine the New START agreement in his phone call with president Putin.'

As such, on January 26 the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists set the hands of the Doomsday Clock to 2.5 Minutes to Midnight.’

M.P. Keisuke Suzuki speaking at the final drafting session for the joint statement 'A Nuclear Weapon Free World: Our Common Good'.

 'In Japan, there is broad support among the public and among parliamentarians for the effort toward a nuclear-weapon-free world,' said M.P. Keisuke Suzuki (LDP), Secretary-General of the Japan section of PNND who circulated the statement to members of all political parties in Japan requesting their support. 'The number of MPs who responded positively to the request is very encouraging.'

48 members of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP, main governing party), 57 members of the Democratic Party of Japan (main opposition party), 14 members of Komeito (second governing party) and 17 members of the smaller parties and Independents responded favorably to the request. Endorsers included former foreign ministers, ambassadors and heads of the key parliamentary committees including the Foreign Affairs Committee.

There are a number of upcoming nuclear disarmament deliberations and negotiations at the United Nations,’ said Mr Ware. ‘These include negotiations on a nuclear ban treaty which begins today at the United Nations in New York, the first preparatory conference in May this year for the 2020 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and a United Nations High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament to be held no later than 2018.

‘The international community has achieved considerable success at high level UN conferences in 2015 and 2016 dealing with sustainable development goals, climate change and refugees. Concrete measures were agreed at each of these. Civil society cooperation and support for nuclear disarmament, such as through this joint statement, could help ensure similar success at the UN forums on nuclear disarmament.’

In addition to support from Japan, the joint statement has been endorsed by mayors, parliamentarians and religious leaders from Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom and the United States.

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