Speech at the Award Ceremony Significance of a Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone by Hiromichi Umebayashi, President, Peace Depot, Japan On the Occasion of the Peace Depot Receiving the 2007 Special DMZ Peace Prize Town Hall, Cholwon, Gangwon-do, Republic of Korea November 29th, 2007 We, the Peace Depot Japan, would like to express our deepest gratitude to Gangwon-do Province and the Daily Gangwon-do for the 2007 Special DMZ (De-Militarized Zone) Peace Prize given to the Peace Depot. The receipt of this award is a special honor and pleasure for us for the following three reasons. But before going into them, I want to recall that we, as citizens of Japan, should never forget the fact that Japan bears grave responsibility for the division of Gangwon-do Province, upon whose soil I am now standing. Reaffirming such history, we are thankful as well as pleased that we are embraced in your noble attempt to turn the DMZ into a place for peace messages. Firstly, we are pleased that our proposition and efforts in cooperation with citizen groups of this country for the past decade to establish a Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone have been acknowledged here in the ROK. I will expand on this subject more in the latter part of my speech. Secondly, there is now a dangerous tendency in Japan not to honestly face, but rather to distort, glorify and utilize for purposes of militarization, the past history in which Japan made mistakes, especially in Asia. The word “depot” of "Peace Depot" signifies a place to gather, store and disseminate materials. The Peace Depot has contributed to peace in and beyond Japan by functioning as such a depot to collect and disseminate fair and rational information, materials and analysis, in order to counter these dangerous tendencies. The award encourages us at this time because it suggests that the significance of this form of peace activity has been acknowledged in this country. Thirdly, though related to my personal history, I have been deeply impressed and inspired by people’s movements and people’s thinking in South Korea during my forty years of involvement in the peace movement. In particular, I have met and been influenced by many respected Koreans, both well-known and unknown, when I was involved in Japanese movement against Japan’s policy to support the ROK military regime. We acted in solidarity with the democratization struggle in ROK against military dictatorship in 1970s and 80s. In this respect, to receive a peace prize in ROK is a special pleasure to me and those with similar experiences. Hoping that the encouragement of this award will help us reach even greater achievement, I now would like to speak on the topic of a Northeast Asia NWFZ. As you know, there are on-going six-party talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsulainvolving theROK, DPRK (North Korea), Japan, China, the U.S. and Russia. Needless to say, it is a vitally important table for peace, and we sincerely wish for its success. However, when we draw our lens a little back from the Korean Peninsula and broaden our view to embrace the potential peace of the entire Northeast Asia region, we will be aware, I believe, that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula alone is not enough. We will see that military tension will persist between Japan and the two Koreas, between Japan and China, and between theU.S. and China even with the denuclearization of the Peninsula. Moreover, it is an ever lasting tension full of nuclear threat. In Japan, the Government of Japan (GOJ) explains that the reason for strengthening its own armament as well as the U.S.-Japan military alliance is to respond to a Chinese nuclear threat as well as to North Korea. In North and South Korea,concerns persist about the possible nuclear armament of Japan, especially because of its continued enhancement of plutonium production and stockpiling, which has military utility, although Japan insists it is solely for civilian use. China's concerns that US strategic nuclear forces target China and that Japan and the ROK support the plan by providing military bases on their soil can be seen to compel China to modernize its own strategic counter forces. This in turn triggers more armament byJapan, resulting in a vicious spiral. These factors will persist even after the denuclearization agreement of the Peninsula has been attained. We have to eradicate this chain of distrust and suspicion by means of citizen wisdom and action across national boundaries. This is the fundamental idea behind the establishment of a NEA NWFZ. It is not a utopian idea. We already have five examples of treaty-based NWFZs. In chronological order of their establishment, they are the Latin America and Caribbean NWFZ, South Pacific NWFZ, Southeast Asia NWFZ, African NWFZ, and Central Asia NWFZ. The latest one in Central Asia was just established in September last year. With five treaties and the Antarctic Treaty, almost the entire landmass of the South Hemisphere is now nuclear-free. If one includes Mongolia, which gained NWFZ status by means of a United Nations General Assembly resolution, 109 nations are now embraced by NWFZs. NWFZs have three elements in common: (1) they prohibit production, acquisition, stationing etc. of nuclear weapons within the zones (non-existence of nuclear weapons), (2) they prohibit attack or threat of attack by nuclear weapons against the zones (negative security assurances), and (3) they establish a mechanism to verify the compliance (compliance verification mechanism). I want to call your attention to the significance of the second element. Namely, a NWFZ is not only a zone where nuclear weapons are prohibited from existing, but is also a zone where such weapons are prohibited from being used for attack or intimidation. We came to the strong belief that the northeast Asia region could be the very place that could enjoy the full benefits of establishing such a zone. And we proposed a six-party treaty with a three plus three arrangement, in which Japan and two Koreas form a geographical nuclear- free-zone while China, Russia and the United States support the zone with obligations such as providing security assurances. Thus, Japan need neither strengthen its own military forces nor US-Japan military ties on account of any nuclear threat by North Korea and China. North and South Korea need not be concerned about a nuclear-armed Japan and will find a diminished role for U.S. military forces in containing Japan’s military expansion. If the role of U.S. forces in the region decreases, the tension between China and the U.S. in the region will decrease as well. I am not saying that a NEA-NWFZ will solve everything, but I am confident it will lead us to the first step on a path of mutual trust and détente rather than on the path of distrust and tension of the past. With such theory and belief as a basis, we drafted a Model Treaty of a NEA-NWFZ in cooperation with Korean civic groups and have been making much effort to spread the idea. The Model Treaty and supporting articles and books have been published in Japanese, Korean and English. Seminars on the subject have been held in Japan, the ROK, China and other places. At UN headquarters in New York and Geneva and at the Conference of NWFZ State Parties and Signatories in Mexico City, we briefed diplomats and government officials to promote the ideas in our role as participants representing NGOs. Also, there are parliamentary networks for nuclear disarmament both in Japan and ROK, and we encouraged these parliamentarians to take up the idea. Through these activities, the cooperative efforts by Japanese and Korean NGOs are becoming known by the international NGO community and gathering more support in civil society around the world. A key next step will be for one of the governments in the region to adopt the idea as one of its policy options. We hope the Government of ROK or the Government of Japan, or even both, would rise to the challenge and become the honorable initiator. Toward that end we will continue our endeavor. We believe the honor of this special prize is an encouragement to our efforts, as well as a gift of renewed opportunity to strengthen our ties with Korean colleagues and broaden the range of international activities. Again, we thank you for the prize.
Pages to are hidden for
"Speech at the Award Ceremony"Please download to view full document