A seven-member group of Japanese scientists and academics has urged the world’s five major nuclear powers to stick to a global treaty on nuclear nonproliferation and work toward the complete abolition of nuclear arms.

The Committee of Seven for World Peace Appeal, which includes Nobel physics prize laureate Masatoshi Koshiba, also urged the Japanese government to again examine the situation regarding nuclear weapons and appeal for peace as the only country to have suffered atomic bombings.

Their two statements were issued Wednesday ahead of the Review Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in New York in May and in light of the 60th anniversary this year of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The May meeting will be held to restudy the NPT adopted five years ago, in which the signatory countries, including Japan, clearly pledged to abolish nuclear arms.

“We feel deeply concerned by the fact that the commitment to abolish nuclear armaments in this treaty may turn into dead letters at the review conference,” they said in a statement addressed to the leaders of the five nuclear weapons states.

The five are U.S. President George W. Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac and Chinese President Hu Jintao. A copy of the statement was also sent to Sergio de Queiroz Duarte, chairman of the review conference.

With the outcome of the conference uncertain, Hideo Tsuchiyama, a professor emeritus at Nagasaki University, said in a news conference that Japan needs to call on the countries to respect the treaty.

“It’s a contradiction for (some) nations to be working for nuclear disarmament when they themselves are into nuclear development. Japan as an A-bombed country should rightly criticize this,” Tsuchiyama said, apparently alluding to moves such as a recent plan by the U.S. to research and develop new nuclear weapons.

“Nuclear countries are those countries that are big and powerful. It is difficult to criticize them and try to lead them onto a humanitarian path,” said Koshiba, a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo. “But we can only do what we can and appeal to their sense of reason.”

The group also urged them to “show, with a concrete timetable, a road map toward the complete abolition of nuclear arms” due to concerns that nuclear disarmament is being overshadowed by a global antiterrorism campaign and fears that nonnuclear nations may try to acquire nuclear capability.

The committee, founded in 1955, submitted the other statement addressed to the Japanese government and the public to Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiken Sugiura earlier in the day.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.