The Key to a World without Nuclear Weapons

Austria to propose “hibakusha” be included in preamble of treaty to ban nuclear weapons

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- On March 28, two days into the negotiations to establish a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, now taking place at United Nations headquarters in New York, the Chugoku Shimbun interviewed Ambassador Thomas Hajnocz, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva. Mr. Hajnocz said that he hopes to include the word “hibakusha” in the preamble of the treaty in order to underscore the damage caused by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He will call on the representatives of other nations to support this idea. Austria is one of the proponents of the nuclear ban treaty.

Mr. Hajnocz made plain that he hopes the word “hibakusha” will be used in the preamble of the treaty. He added that special stress should be placed on the suffering of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He also said that he knows that the A-bomb survivors hope this word will be used. Expectations are rising among antinuclear groups involved in the negotiations that the use of “hibakusha” will help press Japan and other countries to join the negotiations.

Discussions concerning the preamble and objectives of the treaty began on March 28. Mr. Hajnocz said it is essential to emphasize the catastrophic damage caused by the use of nuclear weapons and mention the human suffering.

The representatives of Ireland and South Africa also expressed their views. While the nuclear powers argue that a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons would destabilize the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime, many others maintain that the preamble should state that the treaty would complement the NPT regime and bring the world closer to the elimination of nuclear weapons. Among the signatories of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which form a “nuclear alliance” with the United States, the Netherlands is taking part in the conference and stressed the significance of the NPT. The negotiations will continue until March 31, during which discussions will also proceed on the prohibitions and institutional arrangements to be included in the treaty.

(Originally published on March 30, 2017)