NGOs question results of NPDI meeting of foreign ministers in Hiroshima

by Aya Kano, Staff Writer

On April 12, the “Hiroshima Declaration” was adopted at the meeting of foreign ministers of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI). Although the declaration stresses the inhumanity of nuclear arms, it did not go so far as to mention outlawing these weapons. Did the meeting held in the A-bombed city produce fitting results? Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from home and abroad followed the meeting closely and expressed disappointment.

After the declaration was released, 10 representatives of NGOs held a press conference in downtown Hiroshima. Displaying disappointment, Tilman Ruff, co-president of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), said that the declaration did not refer to outlawing nuclear weapons nor did it establish a concrete action plan for the 12 countries which make up the NPDI.

Haruko Moritaki, co-chair of the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, was disheartened. “The declaration is tantamount to accepting the preservation of the status quo, where nuclear weapons exist. I thought the foreign ministers had learned about the reality of the atomic bombing, but...”

Before the NPDI meeting, NGOs held a public forum to discuss a path toward banning nuclear arms. On stage were eight panelists, including representatives from NGOs in and out of Japan, lawmakers belonging to the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, and A-bomb survivors. Discussion took place between the participants and with the audience of about 100. Masao Tomonaga, the honorary director of the Japanese Red Cross Nagasaki Genbaku Hospital, encouraged citizens’ groups to take part in international conferences such as the NPDI meeting. He said, “There is a growing debate on the patently obvious inhumanity of nuclear weapons. This is the fruit of the A-bomb survivors’ efforts.”

(Originally published on April 13 2014)