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Rally Calls more Effective Agreement at NPT Review Conference

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.

RENGO 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 Its Determination

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.

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