We have gathered from around the world at the Nagasaki Global Citizens’ Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons for the fourth time to demonstrate our determination that Nagasaki be the last place ever to suffer a nuclear attack. At the first Assembly in 2000, we heard atomic bomb survivors say, “We want to see nuclear weapons abolished in our lifetime.” Since then, ten years have passed without their wish being realized. Hearing again the voices of survivors, we renew our resolve to achieve a world without nuclear weapons. Their stories remind us of the suffering of victims created at the every stage of the nuclear cycle from uranium mining to weapons production and testing.

With this in mind we must act on the opportunities provided by:

  • The five-point plan for nuclear disarmament proposed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on United Nations Day, 24 October 2008;
  • The tidal-wave of hope inspired by US President Obama’s April 2009 speech in Prague, and the joint statement of US President Obama and Russian President Medvedev in April 2009 pledging to work for nuclear stockpile reductions and supporting the goal of a nuclear-weapons-free world;
  • The change of government in Japan and the subsequent statements by Prime Minister Hatoyama and Foreign Minister Okada calling for sole-purpose nuclear doctrines, negative security assurances and advocating for a regional nuclear weapon free zone;
  • The announcement by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle recommending the removal of US nuclear weapons from the territories of NATO states as a step in reducing the role of nuclear weapons in NATO.

Nuclear weapons are the ultimate threat to life and the environment and the most extreme violation of human rights. They are dangerous in anyone’s hands and any use would be a crime against humanity. We call upon governments, in cooperation with civil society, to launch the process of abolishing nuclear weapons in a visible manner. To that end, the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to be held in May 2010, provides a critical opportunity to achieve this goal.

Bearing this in mind, we advocate the following actions:

1. Establishment of a process, involving like-minded countries and representatives of civil society, to undertake preparatory work on a treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. Such a process should be organized with reference to the five-point proposal for nuclear disarmament advanced by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which includes a call on states to commence negotiation on a nuclear weapons convention or package of agreements. The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol, launched by Mayors for Peace at the 2008 NPT Preparatory Committee meeting in Geneva, also advocates such a process. We call on the 2010 NPT Review Conference to agree to this.

2. All states possessing nuclear arsenals should halt research, development, testing, and component production while reductions of arsenals are in progress, not afterwards, with production and research facilities subject to an intrusive verification regime at the earliest possible time. States should reduce nuclear weapons in a manner that supports general disarmament, and the financial and human resources currently used to develop and maintain nuclear weapons systems should be redirected towards meeting social and economic needs consistent with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

3. Increased citizen involvement in nuclear disarmament, including through campaigns and activities of Mayors for Peace, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PNND), Abolition 2000 Global Network, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and others. We support nonviolent actions to oppose nuclear weapons, including direct action at nuclear weapons facilities. We encourage greater participation of youth in such campaigns and activities.

4. Creation of more nuclear weapons free zones or zones free of weapons of mass destruction, or single state nuclear weapons free zones, in regions of the world including the Middle East, Northeast Asia, Europe, South Asia and the Arctic. Nuclear weapon free zones provide a practical means for reducing the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines and decreasing the threat of nuclear weapons being used in the regions covered by the zones, and provide a realistic alternative to reliance on extended nuclear deterrence. In particular, we call on the governments of Japan and South Korea to prepare and publicize plans for creating a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone. This would create a favorable environment for promoting the six-party talks designed to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

5. Bring world leaders, including U.S. President Obama, to Hiroshima and Nagasaki to meet survivors and see for themselves the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, which continue through the lives of survivors and subsequent generations. It is essential to continue to impart the experiences of A-bomb victims in all their aspects to people all over the world. In this matter, Japan as the only country to have suffered atomic bombing, has a unique contribution to make.

To the leaders of the nations that have nuclear weapons and those that wish to have them, we address our final comments to you:

Surely you are aware through literature and films of the enormous destructive power of the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While you may believe that nuclear weapons serve your national security interests and elevate your prestige, you have not personally experienced the effects of an atomic bomb explosion. The fact is that tens of thousands of innocent citizens were obliterated instantly under those mushroom clouds, that people who did not die instantly died after writhing in agony, covered in blood or burned in fire, and that people who narrowly escaped death had to suffer from radiation-induced illnesses for the rest of their lives. 

You cannot be proud of possessing nuclear weapons or seeking to have them in the future. It means that you are conspirators in a shameful offence against humanity. From Nagasaki, an atomic bombed city, as global citizens, we demand that you take immediate steps towards the realization of a world without nuclear weapons.

February 8, 2010

The 4th Nagasaki Global Citizens’ Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons