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NSKK NEWSLETTER distributed by
The Nippon Sei Ko Kai
(Anglican Episcopal Church in Japan)
 
Church Attends Nuclear Weapons Talks in New York
by the Revd Laurence Yutaka Minabe
 
JAPAN 051028-1
October 28, 2005

General Secretary represents World Conference on Religion and Peace at Review Meeting of NPT

[The Nippon Sei Ko Kai - Japan] Requested by the Japanese Committee of WCRP to go to New York, I attended the conference of Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons in May as a representative of the Committee of Demilitarization and Reconciliation of the WCRP.

The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons is a treaty which was signed in 1968 and came into effect in 1970. In this treaty it is only the US, UK, Russia (then Soviet Union), and China that were permitted to possess nuclear weapons on condition of an effort to a reduction in armaments, while it was not permitted to other countries except the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It is this “Review Meeting” that reexamines the treaty every five years. Though some appreciate it, saying that it had some significance in a crisis in the Cold War era, it is a controversial treaty, because it is one sided like saying, “We can possess nuclear weapons, but you cannot.” after all. The controversial countries in this issue such as India, Pakistan, and Israel do not participate in it, and North Korea declares its withdrawal from it. It was a strange meeting as it opened in spite of the fact that each country had divided opinions and that they could not decide what to discuss.

We participated in it as one of the observers of NGO’s. About 190 bodies have been registered as NGO’s, and 40000 people attended at the antinuclear assembly held at the Central Park on the 1st of May. It is said that a thousand people of A-bomb survivors’ groups and peace movement groups gathered in New York from Japan. The members of MJM (Metropolitan Japanese Mission), whose core is Japanese Anglicans living in New York, were actively involved in the work as volunteer interpreters for the Japanese participants.

During the session, the united assembly for peace of various religions was held, and there were the witnesses of hibakushas (those who have been affected by atomic bomb) from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These were the occasions when all the participants could not help sharing their strong notion that they had to hand down the dreadful stories of a nuclear weapon , which they had experienced themselves, from generation to generation, as the survivors from the atomic bombs in Japan, including those who felt that only they themselves had survived. Moreover, it seemed to me that it was not the diplomats representing the interests of each country, but the ヤcitizens’ that listened seriously to the voices of the hibakushas.

The General Assembly Hall of the UN was quite an empty space, feverish atmosphere was felt at the seats for the public observers rather than at the seats of the permanent missions from each country (where the printed texts of every speech had been distributed). The mayors from Japan, including the ones of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, attended the Mayors’ Conference for Peace. The mayors’ meeting was filled with feverish atmosphere. It might be an exaggeration, but, in my view, a state regards the interest of the powerful party as the interest of the nation, while mayors regard the lives and small peace of their citizens as their familiar issue. This difference seemed to be reflected on the degrees of enthusiasm in the meetings.

In fact I realized that it was not the power of a politician or bargaining of a state but the power of citizens or each one of us that enabled us to care for each other not for our own interest, to wish for peace, and to achieve and maintain the peace.

On the 15th of August, this year, we Japanese observe the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. The duration of 60 years is one period for human life cycle. It is nothing other than ヤthe time’ to look back on the development after the war and to begin the new one.

This summer, through the Day of Consoling the Spirits of the war death at Okinawa (23rd of June), the service of the 60th anniversary of the A-bomb at Hiroshima (6th of August), the service of the 60th anniversary of the A-bomb at Nagasaki (9th @f August), and the day of the 60th anniversary of the end of war (15th of August), NSKK held several events to look back on the 60 years after the war and to confirm our vow for peace.

Recollecting the facts of those who were chased by the flames of war, carrying their children in the fierce heat and fell down with exhaustion, seeking for water, and recognizing that the same thing is still being repeated in many places in the world even now, we should proceed in our effort for peace. With deep feeling I pray for the peace of the Lord.

Additional Note

Afterwards, the media reports that in the review meeting of NPT held at the UN, all of the three committees, the 1st committee discussing the reduction in armaments, the 2nd committee discussing the nonproliferation, and the 3rd committee discussing peaceful uses of nuclear energy, could not reach complete agreement and that they had to give up making the document of agreement, and that the subsequent reappraisal meeting has broken down . It can be said that difference of position between the countries possessing nuclear powers and the ones that do not possess is large, and that it became clear that the NPT system could not fulfill its responsibility as required.

(the Editor)

Members of the English Version of NSKK Newsletter, Summer 2005 are: as follows:
Rev. Kazuya Takeuchi, Ms. Kazuko Takeda, Ms. Toshiko Yoshimura.
Editor-in-Chief: Hajime Suzuki