|¡ Diet Debate on UN Resolution (Nov 2001)
The below is a debate on the Japanese UNGA resolution "A Path to the
Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons" at the House of the Representatives
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs on 9th, November 2001. It is an informal
but accurate translation of the minutes by Hiro Umebayashi of the Peace
The question was initiated by Mr. Kaneko, an SDP MP, partly at the request
of the Peace Depot.
After turmoil on the Japanese UNGA resolution this year, the Peace Depot
thought it of critical importance for the Japanese NGOs to politically
reconfirm their Government's position, even only by words, that the Government
of Japan continues to recognize that the "unequivocal undertaking
by the nuclear weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their
nuclear arsenals" is an important attainment of the 2000 NPT Review
Conference and should be a foundation for future negotiation. As you see
in the debate, such objective of the Peace Depot was largely accomplished
by the debate.
Another point to be noted in the debate is that the GOJ seems to understand
correctly the reason why the New Agenda group was not in favor of the Japanese
resolution this year, at least after its negotiations with the NA. So,
no doubt Japan prefered "yes" votes of France and the UK to those
of the NA. However, one cannot exclude the possibility that at first the
GOJ was not aware of the real sensitivity of its action in which it moved
the phrase of the "unequivocal undertaking" from the preamble,
as was in last year's resolution, to the operative paragraph, as is in
this year's resolution.
A Diet Debate between Mr. Tetsuo
Kaneko, SDP member of the House of Representatives from Hiroshima and Mr.
Seiken Sugiura, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs at the House of the
Representatives Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs on 9th,
Kaneko:First of all, I would like to ask you the
following. At the NPT Review Conference held in May last year, gan unequivocal
undertaking to eliminate nuclear arsenalsh was made, and the Government of
Japan welcomed in the preamble of its UNGA resolution last year the unanimous
adoption of the final document that included this gundertaking.h Namely Japan
highly valued this phrase last year. Does such high evaluation remain by Japan
Sugiura:It remains unchanged. We highly value the gunequivocal
undertaking,h as agreed at the NPT Review Conference last year, by the nuclear
weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of nuclear weapons, and there
is no change with our evaluation. I addition, in this yearfs resolution that
Japan submitted to the UNGA First Committee and was adopted very recently by
overwhelming majority of the international community, we have emphasized the
importance of the gunequivocal undertaking.h
Kaneko:You have already answered beforehand to what I
wanted to ask you next. But I say this. It is true that you included the phrase
of the gunequivocal undertakingh this year as well. But last year you put clear
emphasis on it in the preamble as a foundation upon which further steps were to
be advanced. To the contrary, this year you have put the phrase as one of many
other steps to be taken. I think this is a big setback you made this year.
At the same time
I have to say the following. The actual way to be taken by Japan should have
been like this: since you already have an gunequivocal undertakingh at hand,
you, as the Government of the nation victimized by the atomic bombings, should
have tried to advance the international environment for nuclear disarmament
more this year than last year, and more next year than this year. This should
have been the role of Japan. But frankly speaking, the Japanese draft
resolution of this year showed considerable setbacks from that of last year.
We have not only
the problem with the gunequivocal undertaking,h which I mentioned just now, but
we have the problem regarding the CTBT. In the resolution last year, you
included even the goal of the year 2003 for its entry-into-force. Also you set
a goal of the year 2005 for the conclusion of FMCT. As a MP from Hiroshima, I
have been irritated by the GOJ policy of gultimate goal to eliminate nuclear
weapons,h but I welcomed your concrete positive initiatives last year. However,
you dropped such goal of 2003, and just say gearly entry into force.h Clearly,
this yearfs resolution has stepped back from the last one in terms of the
attitude of the GOJ. How do you think?
Sugiura:You say that this yearfs resolution has stepped
back. Well, you may be right in saying so, but we maintain the fundamentals.
For example, it
is thought, for instance by France and UK that it is impossible for the CTBT to
enter into force before 2003, so both France and UK voted gyesh to the
resolution this year. France was gnoh last year (n.b. in fact gabstentionh last
year), but it has changed to gyesh this year. As the US voted gno,h things went
in twists and turns, as you know.
Japan did its
best to make the US vote gyes,h at worst gabstentionh just as last year. (n.b.
In fact, the US voted gyesh last year.) International community, as well as
Japan, made best efforts in this direction. Therefore I do hope that you
understand that the languages of the resolution rest on a delicate balance.
Kaneko:As you admit, this yearfs resolution has
stepped back. Then, why? You wished you would get gyes,h at least gabstention,h
from the US. The US had changed its policy on the CTBT. It had gone to the
point to reject the CTBT. But still you wanted the cooperation from the US.
Then what was the outcome? You got gnoh vote, didnft you?
policy of Japan is always depending upon that of the US. But even when you drew
back to meet the US demand, the US voted gno.h What misery Japanfs diplomacy
was. Tell me what happened.
Sugiura:Japan has a constant policy to attach great
importance to early entry-into-force of the CTBT. There is no change with it.
It is really regrettable that the US was not in favor. But the fundamentals
were that Japan maintained its position and did its best.
Kaneko:The GOJ often says that Japan is the only
nation devastated by the atomic bombs, but your arguments have no strong powers
the resolution this year, you degraded the gunequivocal undertakingh from the
premise put in the preamble to one of the steps in the operative paragraphs. As
a result, the New Agenda countries, which played vital roles in the last NPT
Review Conference, abstained from it. What you got at the same time is the
opposition by the US and the abstention by the New Agenda, the group that Japan
should have better cooperative relationship in the future as a partner for
nuclear abolition. You are doing nonsense.
Sugiura:We have been making various efforts. For
instance, the reason why we moved the gunequivocal undertakingh from the
preamble to the operative paragraph was to place more emphasis upon it.
New Agenda group you mentioned submitted its own UNGA resolution last year, but
it is very regrettable that it abstained from our resolution in spite of its no
submission of its own resolution this year.
we share a common goal of early realization of nuclear abolition with each
other. Therefore, while, taking all kinds of opportunities, Japan will continue
to urge the US to ratify the CTBT as early as possible, as the US gets out of
harmony with the international community in terms of environmental issues as
well, Japan will tackle with nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in
cooperation with the New Agenda for our common goal of early nuclear abolition.
Kaneko: Senior-Vice Minister, you now say
you want to cooperate with the New Agenda, which abstained this time. However,
you didnft explain why it abstained this year. If you had really proposed a
resolution strong enough and with clear emphasis upon the gunequivocal
undertaking,h the New Agenda would have voted in favor. Why did they abstain? I
assume the reason was that they considered Japan to have stepped back, as it
wanted to be a good boy to the United States. You say in general terms that the
New Agenda abstained. What do you think were the reasons for it?
Sugiura: Honestly speaking, I cannot
understand why they abstained. I can find no reason why they were not in favor.
Kaneko:I cannot accept your response, a Diet response
by the name of our Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs. There was some
time period between your submission of the resolution and its adoption. The
Japanese UN Representative Office must have actively negotiated with the New
Agenda in pursuit of their positive votes. You must have had their clear
responses in such negotiations. You cannot respond here to me that you donft
know why they abstained.
Sugiura:I mean I know the reason but I cannot
understand it. I wished for their support.
Then, please explain the reason clearly.
Sugiura:The New Agenda argues as follows. Because,
while Japanese resolution last year had the gunequivocal undertakingh in the
preamble, it was shifted to the operative paragraph this year, the resolution
of this year gives impression that the gundertakingh is not an established
commitment but is something to be agreed upon in the future. Also there is
another phrase on the ggeneral and complete disarmamenth in the same paragraph,
which leads to an implication of the link between the gunequivocal undertakingh
and the ggeneral and complete disarmament.h The NA resolution of the last year succeeded
in separating the two by putting the commitment already made in the preamble
and steps to be taken in the operative paragraph. However, Japanese resolution
of this year jeopardizes such accomplishment last year.
We donft think
our resolution will jeopardize the NAfs of last year, and tried to persuade
them. But it was not successful. Such is my understanding.
Kaneko:In summary regarding this yearfs Japanese UNGA
resolution, I want to point out that Japan has made a negative development for
promoting the nuclear disarmament policy of Japan in the future in that the New
Agenda severely criticized Japanese policy on one hand and the United States
responded by gnoh vote on the other hand.
I want to turn to the next subject. (Delete)