(12) Disarmament and Non- Proliferation Education and Cooperation with Civil Society
Regarding cooperation with civil society in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the involvement of civil society in the process of formulating the TPNW was notable. In 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the cancellation of numerous face-to-face meetings on disarmament and non-proliferation, many meetings were held virtually. Side events of the UNGA First Committee were also held online. The number of side events was reduced compared to the previous year, and no country surveyed for this report held them. However, the virtual meetings allowed interested parties to participate from outside the UN headquarters in New York. Many of the side events were attended by government officials, experts, and civil society, including NGOs. Still, it cannot be denied that the inability to hold face-to-face meetings has resulted in not a few constraints and limitations regarding interactions between civil society and government. That said, despite the limitations of the online format, active discussions took place.
Japan, which held the “Group of Eminent Persons for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament” from 2017 through 2019 and publicized the “Chair’s Report” in October 2019,230 hosted the “Track 1.5 Meeting for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament” in March 2020. The meeting was attended by government officials from nine countries including NWS and NNWS as well as nine Japanese and international experts. They discussed three concrete nuclear disarmament measures: transparency, nuclear risk reduction, and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation education. Furthermore, at the 2020 UNGA First Committee, India stated, “[It] continues to attach high priority to promoting arms control, disarmament and international security education. In this regard, India’s Annual Disarmament and International Security Affairs Fellowship launched in 2019 has been well received by various member states, particularly the younger generation of diplomats.”231
At the 2020 UNGA, the resolution “Disarmament and non-proliferation education”— co-sponsored by Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and others—was adopted without voting.232
Regarding cooperation with civil society, one of the important efforts that governments must make is to provide more information on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation matters. Among the countries surveyed in this report, the following set up a section or sections on disarmament and non-proliferation on their official English-language homepages and posted enlightening information: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. In addition, the UNGA resolutions on nuclear disarmament proposed by Japan and the NAC, respectively, mentioned the importance of disarmament and nonproliferation education.
Finally, a few countries started to legislate “divestment” against organizations or companies involved in producing nuclear weapons. According to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) annual report published in June 2019, 325 banks, insurance companies, pension funds and asset managers invested over US$ 748 billion in the top 18 nuclear weapon producers from January 2017 through January 2019.233 Another report by the ICAN stated: “Governments are contracting at least US$ 116 billion…to private companies in France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States for production, development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons. State-owned companies in China connected to nuclear weapon production are starting to raise money through bond issuances, while Israeli, Pakistani, North Korean and Russian nuclear programmes are still not transparent.”234 On the other hand, its other report profiled 77 financial institutions that have in place a policy that restricts investments in nuclear weapon producers.235 Besides this, Switzerland and Luxembourg enacted national laws that restrict financing for nuclear weapons production. Norwegian and Swedish state-owned pension funds do not invest in companies deemed to be involved in developing and producing nuclear weapons.236
230 “Chair’s Report of the Group of Eminent Persons for the Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament,” October 2019, https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/files/000529774.pdf.
231 “Statement by India,” UNGA First Committee, October 14, 2020.
232 A/RE/75/61, December 7, 2020.
233 ICAN and PAX, Shorting Our Security- Financing the Companies that Make Nuclear Weapons, June 2019.
234 ICAN and PAX, Producing Mass Destruction: Private Companies and the Nuclear Weapons Industry, May 2019.
235 ICAN and PAX, Beyond the Bomb: Global Exclusion of Nuclear Weapon Producers, October 2019.
236 IKV Pax Christi and ICAN, Don’t Bank on the Bomb: A Global Report on the Financing of Nuclear Weapons Producers—2018, March 2018. In Japan, Resona Holdings and Kyushu Financial Group have made similar statements. In 2020, it was reported that 16 Japanese banks, including megabanks, have set guidelines to restrain themselves from investing in and financing companies involved in manufacturing missiles to deliver nuclear weapons. (“Banks Restrain from Investing in Nuclear Weapons-Related Companies,” Fukui Shimbun, May 3, 2020, https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1080130. (in Japanese)) In addition, the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MFG) has revised its investment and financing guidelines for companies, stating that financing the manufacture of nuclear weapons will be prohibited. (“Prohibition from Financing of Nuclear Weapons Production,” Kyodo News, June 7, 2020, https://jp.reuters.com/article/idJP2020060701001280. (in Japanese)) Furthermore, in December, it was reported that “[F]our major Japanese life insurers do not invest in or extend loans to producers of nuclear weapons or companies related to them.” (“Major Japan Life Insurers Shun Investing in Nuke Weapon-Linked Firms,” Kyodo News, December 12, 2020, https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/12/e6fc3a6e00ab-major-japan-life-insurers-shun-investing-in-nuke-weapon-linked-firms.html.)