According to the RENGO News (Japanese edition) dated April 9, in advance
of the upcoming United Nations Review Conference on the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) scheduled to be held in New York
in May, RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) and two related
peace movement organizations held a rally in Tokyo on April 8
calling for an effective agreement at the conference. About 350
people from RENGO affiliates, local branches, and the peace movement
organizations participated in the rally, during which it was
announced that 6,606,431 signatures had been collected so far
in the "Ten Million Signature Collection Campaign" that had been
conducted since the autumn of last year.
President Addresses Rally
RENGO President Nobuyuki
KOGA addressed the rally participants as follows:
"The threat of nuclear weapons is far from disappearing; indeed,
it is spreading more and more. The NPT regime is being shaken
not only by the established nuclear powers but also by the new
nuclear states of India and Pakistan, which are not yet parties
to the NPT; Israel, which is a nuclear power in practice; Iran,
which is enriching uranium, a process that easily leads to the
development of nuclear weapons; and North Korea, which has been
repeatedly conducting nuclear tests. With the cooperation of
all participating organizations, the 'Ten Million Signature Collection
Campaign' has been successfully conducted, and the signatures
collected will be handed over not only to Prime Minister Yukio
HATOYAMA on April 16 but also to United Nations Secretary General
BAN Ki-moon during the NPT Review Conference. At the same time,
we will demand efforts by both of them toward an effective agreement
at the NPT Review Conference and the immediate effectuation of
the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty."
Government Representative Expresses
Representing the Japanese government, State Secretary for Foreign
Affairs Tetsuro FUKUYAMA expressed the government's determination
to achieve success at the NPT Review Conference as follows:
"Following the change of administration last year, the present
government has taken quite a different stance from former governments,
as shown in the speech delivered by Prime Minister HATOYAMA at
the United Nations last autumn, the announcement of the Japan-Australia
Joint Statement on 'Toward a World without Nuclear Weapons,'
and the proposal made by Japan on the role of nuclear weapons
at the G8 Foreign Affairs Ministers' Meeting. However long a
tunnel is, the tunnel cannot be dug unless somebody makes the
first move. The government is determined to convey Japan's position
at the Nuclear Security Summit and the NPT Review Conference."
State Secretary FUKUYAMA also expressed the government's gratitude
to the participants for the warm and strong support they have
shown in the signature collection campaign and other activities.
He assured them that these activities will contribute much to
discussions at the conference.
70-Member RENGO Delegation to
Visit New York
At the end of the rally, it was announced that RENGO will send
a 70-member delegation headed by President KOGA to New York during
the NPT Review Conference in May to make a strong appeal from
Japan, the only nation in the world to have suffered atomic bombing.
The delegation will organize many events in New York together
with other affiliates of the International Trade Union Confederation
and peace movement groups from around the world.