Endeavors for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons: What the Tokyo Forum Has Achieved and What Still Remains to Be Done
International Conference on September 18, 1999
People from Japan, the United States and France called on nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon states to act on the recommendations of the Report of the Tokyo Forum for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament at a symposium at the International Conference Center in Hiroshima on September 18. Speaking under the title "Endeavors for the abolition of nuclear weapons─What the Tokyo Forum has achieved and what still remains to be done," five experts, including a cochairman and two other members of the forum, offered analyses of the international climate regarding nuclear weapons and commented on the contents of the report. Most of them urged the international community to take steps toward realizing the report's recommendations. The event, which was sponsored by the Hiroshima Peace Institute, was attended by about 200 people.
（Professor of the International Christian University)
(Former president of the Hiroshima Peace Institute)
(Distinguished fellow of the Institute for International Policy Studies）
(Director of Strategic Affairs at the Atomic Energy Commission, France)
Thomas Graham, Jr.
(President of the Lawyers Alliance for World Security, U.S.A.)
Questions and Answers
The report mentions the persistent belief among some countries in nuclearism, and makes recommendations on the assumption that immediate action should be taken that is effective and realistic. Some of the recommendations emphasize the importance of a multilateral approach to disarmament. Yet I am aware of a fair amount of criticism against the report. The forum was initiated following the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan last year, with the intention of responding with urgent recommendations. So, while putting aside the problems of the Non-proliferation Treaty, the forum nevertheless discussed ways of putting pressure on countries such as India and Pakistan, whose behavior threatens the treaty. Another concern is the report's reliance on gradual solutions to even the most urgent problems. For example, the Tokyo Forum proposed that the United States and Russia reduce warheads deployed on strategic nuclear delivery vehicles to 1,000 each, but did not set a timetable. There is a great deal of anxiety over when the two countries will actually attain this goal. According to the theory of nuclear deterrence, some countries regard nuclear weapons as a necessary evil, while other see them as a good thing. The recommendations made by the Canberra Commission in 1996 contained clear criticism of the theory of nuclear deterrence, and took as their starting point the idea that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil. The Tokyo Forum report searched for a way to abolish nuclear weapon while steering a path between the aforementioned views. But one day we will have to give up the idea that nuclear weapons have positive qualities. We need to reconsider the purpose of nuclear weapons if we are to succeed in bringing about their complete eradication.
Mogami is a professor at the International Christian University. He is also a member of the academic council of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms.
At the Tokyo Forum we discussed not only global disarmament but also regional disarmament, focusing on South Asia, the Middle East and Northeast Asia. As part of the process toward nuclear abolition, the forum proposed that the United States and Russia reduce warheads on strategic nuclear delivery vehicles to 1,000 each, and that the five nuclear weapon states adopt a multilateral approach to disarmament. The eventual aim is to bring the number of nuclear weapons down to zero. In this sense, the report is very ambitious. One of the most significant features of the Tokyo Forum was that it squarely grappled with nuclear problems in China. India carried out nuclear tests to gain recognition as a global power. At the Tokyo Forum, there was a common anxiety that more countries might follow India's way of thinking and aim to develop a nuclear capability. The report addresses, in minute detail, the issues of nuclear non-proliferation as well as nuclear disarmament. It holds that a commitment to the NPT regime by non-nuclear-weapon states is a necessary condition for nuclear-weapon states to abolish their weapons. Japan, while preciously guarding its three non-nuclear principles, at the same time depends on the U.S. nuclear umbrella. We should consider whether to make that umbrella smaller, or turn what is an independent umbrella into a universal one. Any efforts toward disarmament should aim at filling the gap between anti-nuclear principles and the protection offered by the nuclear umbrella. In this regard, the report's recommendations are constructive, and represent the first step toward a realistic disarmament methodology. Appeals to individual governments should be made on the basis of the report. I believe the approach suggested by the Tokyo Forum - which combines the wisdom of NGOs and experts from around the world - will be very influential in the future.
Akashi is the former president of the Hiroshima Peace Institute, and co-chairman of the Tokyo Forum. He is also the former U.N. Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs.
From the 1960s through the beginning of the 1980s, the United States and the former Soviet Union built up huge nuclear arsenals. Although a movement for nuclear abolition existed, little was known in Japan, at least about how to actually dismantle and dispose of existing nuclear weapons. The Australian government kick-started the movement for the abolition of nuclear weapons with the establishment of the Canberra Commission in 1995, and Japan took up that initiative and set up the Tokyo Forum. The number of strategic warheads possessed by the United States and Russia numbered about 80,000 in the 1980s. Under the START process, they began reducing weapons numbers for economic, rather than humanitarian reasons. Although each country has reduced the number of weapons it possesses to about 3,000, the problem of how to dismantle nuclear weapons in the coming century has yet to be solved. It is said that a maximum of 2,000 weapons (strategic and/or tactical) can be dismantled per year under the most prudent conditions. There also needs to be discussion on the role of nuclear energy in the 21st century. At the COP 3 climate-change conference in 1997, countries agreed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Given this commitment, reducing nuclear power generation would appear difficult. The issues of nuclear disarmament and energy should be discussed together in the future. We also have to address the problem of contamination by radioactive waste. So how do we bring about the realization of nuclear weapon-free world? To find the answer, we must urge Japan and the rest of the international community not to be content with the outcome so far, but to continue where the Tokyo Forum Report left off and make concerted efforts toward total nuclear abolition.
Imai is a distinguished fellow of the Institute for International Policy Studies in Tokyo, and a member of the Tokyo Forum. He is a former Ambassador of Japan to the U.N. Conference on Disarmament, Ambassador to Mexico and a member of the governing board at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
One of the most significant features of the Tokyo Forum Report is that it faced up to regional and international security. Unlike most of its predecessors, the report develops a firmly grounded debate on international relations, recognizing that they should take precedence if the recommendations should have any impact in the real world. The original goal was to discuss ways to rebuild the international order of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament after the nuclear tests in South Asia. The report devotes additional analysis to two other crisis-hit regions that are causing concern: the Middle East and East Asia. Second, nuclear disarmament should be comprehensive and linked to developments other than nuclear. The long-neglected issue of tactical nuclear weapons was taken up and proposals for the reduction and eventual elimination of tactical nuclear weapons were written in the report. Nuclear disarmament should also be linked to other spheres of disarmament, in particular to missile proliferation, and to chemical and biological disarmament. Third, the report makes it clear that China should contribute to nuclear disarmament with deeds and not only with words, by, for example, improving transparency and accepting at least to commit itself not to increase its nuclear forces. The Tokyo Forum Report has been read in Europe. The recommendations go far beyond the scope of policies currently being pursued by nuclear-weapon states, but they give a direction to follow in order to improve the current situation.
Delpech is director of Strategic Affairs at the Atomic Energy Commission in France and a member of the Tokyo Forum. She is a former advisor to the French Prime Minister for politico-military affairs and a consultant to the Policy Planning Staff of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
THOMAS GRAHAM, Jr.
The world faced a choice between the assured danger of proliferation or the challenges of nuclear disarmament, and ostensibly chose the latter. However, developments over the years, and the continuing inability of nuclear-weapon states (NWS) to negotiate further reductions in nuclear arsenals seem to be pushing the international community back toward the former option. Several important steps need to be taken if the world is to be moved back onto the right track. The NWS should agree to a no-first-use policy. This would emphasize their commitment to the negative security assurances and would send a firm message to would-be proliferators that the acquisition of nuclear weapons does not enhance the security or greatness of the state. Nuclear non-proliferation is not the preserve of the NWS. For example, all but one NWS member of NATO abstained on a General Assembly Resolution sponsored by the New Agenda Coalition calling for achieving a nuclear-free world. Similarly, due largely to the efforts of Canada and Germany, NATO agreed at its April summit meeting to conduct a review of its nuclear doctrine that could result in the consideration by the alliance of the adoption of a no-first-use policy. Efforts such as these are ways in which determined non-nuclear-weapon states (NNWS) can work toward reducing the political value of nuclear weapons. The Tokyo Forum correctly concludes that without significant reductions in existing arsenals, nuclear nonproliferation efforts are unlikely to succeed. Drastically reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the world and strictly limiting their role solely to deterring their use by others, coupled with practical steps by NNWS to bolster the nonproliferation regime, is the best path toward security and stability in the next century.
(Profile) Graham is president of the Lawyers Alliance for World Security in the United States. He served as the special representative of the President for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament, leading U.S. government efforts to achieve indefinite extension of the NPT and urge conclusion of CTBT negotiations in Geneva.
Questions and Answers
Member of Audience: Do you think the abolition of nuclear weapons - the sincerest wish of the people of Hiroshima - is impracticable?
Delpech: I can understand that for the people living in Hiroshima, nothing is acceptable but zero nuclear weapons. But in any view it is better to improve the present situation with appropriate steps than to have a general and abstract commitment to immediate elimination, which is not practicable and will remain empty words.
MOA: The 15 paragraph of Part 4 of the Tokyo Forum report could be read to mean that nuclear weapons would deter the use of other weapons of mass destruction.
Graham: The report makes it clear that nuclear weapons should have one role and one role only, and that is to deter the use of other nuclear weapons. And in order to make the pledges of no-first-use credible, it is important to have changes in nuclear doctrine which reserves the first use of nuclear weapons, and which overtly implies that nuclear weapons are politically and militarily valuable.
Delpech: The report is very cautious concerning no-first-use. It does say that commitments are seldom reliable in this field. The best way to ensure the additional reliability of this pledge is to withdraw and abondon tactical nuclear weapons, which could be battlefield arms.
MOA: The Report says that the NPT Regime is in a critical situation. I think it attributes (that situation) to the lack of responsibility shown by nuclear-weapon states, which are parties to the NPT.
Akashi: The NPT rests on a core bargain between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states. The report emphasizes the role of nuclear-weapons states in achieving disarmament, especially the responsibility of the U.S. and Russia. Unless nuclear-weapon states that are parties to the NPT, throw all their energy into implementing Article 6 of the NPT, non-nuclear-weapon states' commitment to the NPT might be weakened.
MOA: The report mentions the early realization of a denuclearised Korean Peninsula. Why didn't it refer to the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Northeast Asia?
Akashi: Concerning a nuclear weapon-free zone in Northeast Asia, there would be far more difficult problems than in other nuclear weapon-free zones. In other zones, nuclear weapons do not exist and nuclear-weapon states have not deployed any nuclear weapons in those areas. In Northeast Asia, China and Russia are nuclear-weapon states, and the U.S. has a nuclear potential in the area. So clearing the area of nuclear weapons is the first problem that needs solving. I think that is why we could not bring up in the report the issue of a nuclear weapon-free zone in the region.
Delpech: Concerning Northeast Asia, the major problem would be about the scope of the nuclear weapon-free zone. What would be in particular the role of China? Also, in Northeast Asia, the priority for us was to get a denuclearized zone in the Korean Peninsula, or at least full implementation of NPT commitments and 1991 bilateral agreements.