The Hiroshima Declaration: A plea for zero nuclear weapons

Press conference

Hiroshima, Japan

19 April 2010

Humankind has the power to destroy itself through the catastrophic impacts of a nuclear war. Speaking from Hiroshima, in memory of those who fell and those who still suffer the lingering injuries of nuclear attack, the Interaction Council, which has consistently advocated nuclear disarmament since 1983, calls on leaders of the 21st century to respond and take the actions necessary for the survival of all humanity.

The threat of the use of nuclear weapons is as great as ever, but in a very different way, as new dangers are emerging. As long as anyone has nuclear weapons, others will seek them. Nuclear materials and technology are increasingly widespread and accessible.  Smuggling of fissile materials has been extensive and many such materials remain inadequately secured. The know-how to make nuclear bombs is readily available. The danger of nuclear terrorism is very real. Nine countries now have nuclear weapons – not all have signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and few have committed to no first use.  A further 40 countries have the technological capacity to build nuclear weapons. The current non-proliferation regime is manifestly inadequate.

The history of the nuclear age is littered with broken promises and double standards but today there is reason to hope, and momentum for change. The United States and Russia have just signed an agreement to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear arsenals.  While they have both argued for a global zero option, against the background of stalled negotiations, failure in disarmament, and unenforced treaties, the agreed verified and binding reduction is a significant advance. We congratulate Presidents Obama and Medvedev and urge them to continue on the path to disarmament.

The Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference that opens in less than two weeks in New York provides an important opportunity for breakthrough on the current nuclear logjam. With this in mind, the Council calls on the Review Conference to demonstrate determination to put in place an effective process to eliminate and outlaw nuclear weapons. The Australian and Japanese sponsored International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament has made useful recommendations on a package of measures for the Review Conference.

We urge all nations to support decisive action. The non-proliferation regime must be made universal and effective. Without substantial advances in disarmament and non-proliferation, more and more countries may gain nuclear weapons, increasing risks to everyone.

The InterAction Council urges the Review Conference to promote:

  • A comprehensive nuclear treaty architecture aiming at the elimination of nuclear weapons
  • A resolution by the UN General Assembly and Security Council declaring that uses of nuclear weapons would constitute a crime against humanity.

In addition:

  • Nuclear weapons states should commit to a no-first-use policy and not to use nuclear weapons in any conflict with a non-nuclear weapons state.
  • Nuclear weapons should be taken off high alert.
  • All nuclear weapons states should declare that they will not create new nuclear weapons capabilities, as the US has done in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.
  • Nations participating in defensive treaties that ultimately rely on nuclear weapons should start to define the nature of their alliances in a way that excludes any reliance on nuclear weapons.

The world is at a crossroads, but has the best opportunity in years to make real, effective and lasting change essential for survival of the human race and of our planet. There is momentum for change established by the recent agreement between Russia and the United States. But that momentum must build into an irreversible tide. In this endeavour every person, group and state has a responsibility for our common and shared future. If the principled and practical objectives proposed by the Interaction Council are adopted at the NPT Review Conference, it would be a substantial beginning and demonstrate that the leaders of today are aware of their profound responsibilities and determined to make the world safer and more secure for the children of tomorrow.

The following members, associate members, and special guests to the 28th Annual Meeting have endorsed the Hiroshima Declaration.

IAC Members

1.      H.E. Mr. Helmut Schmidt, Honorary Chairman (former Chancellor), Germany

2.      The Honourable Malcolm Fraser, Honorary Chairman (former Prime Minister), Australia

3.      H.E. Mr. Ingvar Carlsson, Co-chairman (former Prime Minister), Sweden

4.      The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, Co-chairman (former Prime Minister), Canada

5.      H.E. Mr. Andreas van Agt (former Prime Minister), Netherlands

6.      H.E. Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (former Prime Minister), Malaysia

7.      H.E. Mr. Yasuo Fukuda (former Prime Minister), Japan

8.      H.E. Mr. Goh Chok Tong (former Prime Minister), Republic of Singapore

9.      H.E. Mr. Seyed Mohammad Khatami (former President), Islamic Republic of Iran

10.   H.E. Mr. Lee Hong-Koo (former Prime Minister), Korea

11.   H.E. Mr. Abdel Salam Majali (former Prime Minister), Jordan

12.   Sir James Fitz-Allen Mitchell (former Prime Minister), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

13.   H.E. Mr. Benjamin William Mkapa (former President), Tanzania

14.   H.E. Mr. Tomiichi Murayama (former Prime Minister), Japan

15.   H.E. Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo (former President), Nigeria

16.   H.E. Mr. Jerry John Rawlings (former Head of State), Republic of Ghana

17.   H.E. Mr. Jose Sarney (former President), Brazil

18.   H.E. Mr. Tung Chee Hwa (former Chief Executive), Hong Kong Administration

19.   H.E. Mr. Franz Vranitzky (former Chancellor), Austria

Associate Members

20.   H.E. Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Z. Al-Quraishi, former Governor of SAMA (Central Bank), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

21.   Prof. Thomas Axworthy, Chair of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, Queen’s University, Canada

22.   H.E. Mr. Jean André François-Poncet, President of the Senatorial Committee on Regional Planning, France

23.   Baroness Jay, Chairperson of the Overseas Development Institute, London, UK

24.   Dr. Lee Seung-yun, (former Deputy-Prime Minister), Korea

25.   Mr. Seiken Sugiura,(former Minister of Justice), Japan

Special Guests

26.   Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of the city of Hiroshima, Japan

27.   Dr. Abdulrahman H. Al-Saeed, Advisor – The Royal Court, President of Center for Specialized Studies, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

28.   Dr. Hans Blix, former Chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, Sweden

29.   H.E.Mr. Luiz Augusto de Castro Neves, Ambassador of Brazil to Japan, Brazil

30.   Mr. Sam Nunn, former US Senator and former Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, USA

31.   His Eminence Monshu Koshin Ohtani, past President of Japan Buddhist Federation, Monshu of Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Japan

32.   Lord David Owen, (former Foreign Minister), United Kingdom

33.   H.E.Ambassador Alexander Panov, Rector of Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russia

34.   Dr. Shen Dingli, Director of Center for American Studies, Executive Dean of Institute of International Studies, Fudan University, China

35.   H.E.Mr. Masajuro Shiokawa, (former Minister of Finance), Japan

36.   Mr. Jitsuro Terashima, Chairman, Japan Research Institute, Japan

37.   Mr. Karsten D. Voigt, former Coordinator of German-North American Cooperation at the German Federal Foreign Office, Germany

High-Level Experts

38.   Dr. Rebecca E. Johnson, Executive Director of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, UK

39.   Prof. Katsuko Kataoka, Professor Emeritus, Hiroshima University, Japan

40.   Dr. Tilman Ruff, Chair of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Australia

41.   Dr. Randy Rydell, Senior Political Affairs Officer, Office of the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, United Nations, USA


42. Prof. Isamu Miyazaki, Secretary General of InterAction Council, former State Minister of Economic Planning Agency, Japan

A Note about the InterAction Council

The InterAction Council was founded in 1983 as an independent organisation to concentrate on long-term global problems that so often present day governments put aside. Peace and disarmament, the abolition of nuclear weapons, economic revitalization, the environment, and human ethics have been central to the InterAction Council’s tasks.

It has always been composed of a number of heads of state or heads of government who have contributed specifically to their own country and to the international community. All have supported the objectives of the Council.

In addition, the Council has devoted much time to dialogues with major religious leaders. It published a Declaration of Human Responsibilities in 1997 after more than a decade of dialogue with religious leaders to define a universal ethic that the world’s major religions would all be able to accept. This is one of the Council’s most important achievements.

The Hiroshima Declaration, calling for the abolition of all nuclear weapons is highly relevant to the Declaration of Human Responsibilities. It emphasizes that we all have a responsibility for the betterment of the human race. This clearly has implications for our current endeavours. In our shared view, it is the only way to make the human race and the planet safe from human destruction. It raises to the forefront the responsibility of individuals, of groups and of governments worldwide to work for this purpose.