Observer of NPT PrepCom reports on session, stresses growing global momentum for nuclear weapons convention

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

Kunihiko Sakuma, 69, a resident of Nishi Ward, Hiroshima and vice chairman of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations (Hidankyo), chaired by Kazushi Kaneko, held a press conference at Hiroshima City Hall on May 13. He was reporting on his visit to New York to observe the third session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Mr. Sakuma said, “There is growing momentum in the world which supports the idea that a nuclear weapons convention is necessary,” and he appealed for Hiroshima to send out stronger messages to strengthen this trend.

Mr. Sakuma was dispatched to the United States by the Hiroshima Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs from April 27 to May 5, serving as a member of the delegation of the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. He observed the PrepCom and made requests to representatives of 10 member states to support the total abolition of nuclear weapons.

At the press conference, Mr. Sakuma said that the representative of the United Kingdom, while recognizing the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, stressed that a nuclear weapons convention is premature due to security reasons. “Because the general mood of the PrepCom showed support for a nuclear weapons convention, the opposition by the nuclear weapon states stood out,” he said.

Mr. Sakuma noted that Toshio Sano, the Japanese ambassador for disarmament, also mentioned the difficulty of banning nuclear weapons at an early date because of current international conditions. “A-bomb survivors can’t comprehend the stance of the Japanese government. We call for the abolition of nuclear weapons as soon as possible. In order to realize this, we will continue giving our A-bomb testimonies and carrying out signature drives,” Mr. Sakura said with firm determination.

(Originally published on May 14, 2014)