The Letter from Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture to the states parties of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
On July 26, the Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture sent a letter to the states parties of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), writing his expectation for concrete progress in the 10th Review Conference to be held from August 1st, and requesting to visit Hiroshima not too far in the future as follow.
It is wonderful that the 10th NPT Review Conference will be held this coming August, after having been postponed several times.
At the previous Review Conference held in 2015, states parties were unable to reach agreement on the draft of the Final Document. Since the Review Conference scheduled for 2020 was repeatedly postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for more than seven years we did not have practical guidelines for promoting nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.
Meanwhile, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted in July 2017 at the UN General Assembly and entered into force in January 2021. This event was welcomed by many non-nuclear weapons states that seek progress in nuclear disarmament. On the other hand, with regard to the bilateral frameworks of nuclear disarmament between the United States and the Russian Federation, which together possess more than 90% of the nuclear warheads in the world, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty expired in 2019. As a result, the only treaty valid at this moment is the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which was extended for five years immediately before its scheduled expiration date in February 2021.
It is truly deplorable that Russia began an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and threatened international society with its nuclear capabilities. Russia continues its invasion openly using conventional weapons while implying the possible use of its nuclear arsenal to intimidate the world. This behavior seriously undermines the international order, built on the basis of international laws and norms. Moreover, we cannot deny the potential that the country will actually use its nuclear weapons on the battlefield.
As a result of Russia’s recent actions, an increasing number of people have begun to regard nuclear deterrence as an effective and dependable means to secure peace, leading to the trend in a number of countries to seek extended nuclear deterrence. This trend in turn imposes new pressure on the present nuclear nonproliferation regime.
In addition to those Ukrainians who are being killed in the war and being displaced from their homes, this war of aggression is having a serious impact on people all around the world. The hike in commodity prices, particularly food prices, resulting from the war has led to a food crisis particularly in Africa, which is exacerbating the daily hardships people already face.
Amid this extremely challenging situation, Hiroshima Prefecture recently held Hiroshima Round Table 2022, a platform for multilateral discussions in quest of nuclear disarmament. Experts in international politics and security issues gathered from around the world and held lively discussions on the theme “Envisioning a World Beyond Nuclear Weapons.” The discussions have been summarized in the Chair’s Statement, which calls for four actions. Enclosed herewith please find a copy of the Chair’s Statement. It is my sincere hope that you will read it.
The presence of nuclear weapons poses the greatest threat to our sustainable future. I truly hope that you will seriously reflect on the calls from Hiroshima, the first A-bombed city in the world, and make a practical contribution to the 10th NPT Review Conference so as to ensure its success. At the same time, I hope you will visit Hiroshima not too far in the future and see the humanitarian impact of the atomic bombing. It is my sincere hope that we can work with you toward building a peaceful international society, free of nuclear weapons.
Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture
President of Hiroshima Organization for Global Peace (HOPe)