NPT Preparatory Committee meeting opens: Exploring path to nuclear disarmament

Hiroshima mayor, governor participate

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

New York – The Third Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) got underway at United Nations headquarters here on April 28. During the session, which lasts through May 9, the approximately 190 nations that are party to the treaty will sort out the issues related to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and explore ways to achieve those goals. Hiroshima Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki and Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui are attending together for the first time. They will urge the participating governments to waste no time in bringing about a world without nuclear weapons.

The preparatory committee meets in between the review conferences, which are held every five years. This is the committee’s final session. Chaired by Enrique Roman-Morey of Peru, the meeting got underway with a general discussion during which each country spoke about nuclear issues. The aim of the session is to come up with recommendations to be given to the Review Conference.

Japan’s representative, Nobuo Kishi, vice minister for foreign affairs, spoke on behalf of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative, which comprises 12 non-nuclear nations. The organization’s ministerial meeting was held in Hiroshima on April 11 and 12, and Mr. Kishi described how the ministers in attendance were able to learn about the atomic bombing firsthand. He also emphasized the need to work toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.

At the previous NPT Review Conference in 2010, representatives agreed on a final statement that included a 64-point action plan on disarmament. At this session of the preparatory committee, the five nuclear powers will report on their efforts toward disarmament based on that action plan. There will also be interest in what each nation will say about the inhumanity of nuclear weapons and the effort to outlaw them.

On April 27, Gov. Yuzaki and Mayor Matsui, who arrived in New York prior to the start of the session, laid wreaths at Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. They also spoke with families of some victims of the terrorist attack who were there.

At the committee’s session for non-governmental organizations on April 29, Mayor Matsui will deliver a speech in his capacity as president of Mayors for Peace. The mayor told the press corps, “I will impress upon them what terrible suffering the atomic bomb caused.” Gov. Yuzaki, who will participate in an April 30 panel discussion sponsored by the prefecture, said, “Both terrorism and atomic bombings are inhumane acts that target ordinary citizens. I will work to strengthen people’s resolve to abolish nuclear weapons.”

(Originally published on April 29, 2014)