Joint Press Conference 


Joint Press Conference by Co-chairs, Gareth Evans and Yoriko Kawaguchi, International Commission for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament

20 October 2009, Hiroshima, Japan

CHAIR (Japanese language):
Thank you for waiting. And now we'd like to start this press conference. To introduce the issues we have the Co-chairs, Mr Evans and Ms Kawaguchi. The conference will go for 30 minutes.

Firstly, Ms Kawaguchi is going to address and then followed by Mr Evans. Then we will have a Q and A session. So, Ms Kawaguchi, please.

YORIKO KAWAGUCHI (Japanese language):
I am Yoriko Kawaguchi. This is the fourth meeting of this Commission and this time it has been held here in Hiroshima. The Commission members have met with citizens of Hiroshima who have been affected by Atomic Bombs. And so - about the final report. We had a three day session here in Hiroshima. Until Hiroshima we had two day sessions but this was the last session and so we have had a three day discussion - actually two days and a half - and basically speaking we have come to the conclusion that there are many things that we have to progress and that there are things that are moving on. So we tried to finalise our report and the major issues are already decided.

I'd like to say that there have been many meetings that produced many reports in the past, but the significance of this ICNND process is that its report is quite action oriented.
I believe that the ICNND report can give us the roadmap for action and what is different about this ICNND report from others is its comprehensiveness: covering nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy - the three pillars of NPT. And we discussed these three pillars extensively and I'm sure when you read the final report you will understand that the report is very comprehensive.

I think the ICNND report will be the most comprehensive report ever prepared on this issue. And of course, President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize. He has been a leader for the world in renewing attention on disarmament. He builds on the many earlier reports on achieving a nuclear free world - including that of Mr Nakasone in Japan.

So our report will be very timely. We now have to meet the Prime Minister and other people in Tokyo to report on our progress and I am sorry I cannot tell you everything here at this time.

But the basic structure is that we have two phases. First, the phase to 2025 that decreases the number of nuclear weapons to a “minimization point”; and second, back to zero after 2025. And the minimization phase is divided into two sections: the present to 2012; and after 2012 to 2025. On the first short-term period until 2012: first of all, the United States and Russia must start negotiations. That should be concluded at the earliest possible time, with a further major reduction of all nuclear weapons. Discussions should continue on nuclear doctrine: by 2012 we would like all the leaders of the world to say that the sole purpose of nuclear weapons is just for deterrence against other nuclear weapons and the threat of their use against their own countries and also their allies.

Further, we discussed how to eliminate nuclear weapons by 2025. I cannot tell you here everything because we have to report our conclusions to the Prime Minister in Tokyo and other people. We would like the CTBT to take effect by 2012; and for India, Pakistan and Israel outside NPT, to join the CTBT and FMCT. We would like them to be under some kind of control so that non-proliferation can be secured.

We hope that in 2025, all the nuclear weapon states will have massive reductions in the number of nuclear weapons. And by 2025 at the latest we would like all the nuclear weapon powers to declare no first use backed by changes to deployments of weapons to build confidence in those undertakings.
After 2025 we would like to progress towards zero. Various conditions would need to be met and, for example, risks of invasion and threat is reduced so that nuclear weapons are no longer necessary. A lot of detailed information will be included in this report. We have had four full Commission meetings, and also four regional meetings and I attended three of those regional meetings - except for the one in South America. And these meetings were conducted in a very constructive atmosphere.

As this was the last meeting to finalise the report, the discussion was very detailed. Nevertheless we had a very good atmosphere - people were joking and friendly. And the Commission members have been able to agree a good final report. We all had a very productive discussion - that's what everyone said and that's what I'd like to report.

GARETH EVANS (English language):
I'd like to thank you all for coming here today and in particular to thank my Co-chair, Yoriko Kawaguchi, who has been an outstanding colleague, as we have worked our way through this very difficult task of producing a report that really will make a difference with the world's policymakers on this crucial issue.

We have had a very tough three days. In fact, we've had a very tough year working on this report because the issues are incredibly complex and also extremely sensitive. But I think we're very proud that the Commission has reached unanimous agreement on what will be about a 200 page document when it's finally printed - but with lots of easy summaries so you can see more quickly what it's about.

I think we're very proud that we have reached unanimity in our basic approach and recommendations on what is such a difficult and sensitive topic, and where the members of the Commission come from such different backgrounds and many different cultures and countries. If we can achieve unanimity on these issues, I think we're off to a good start in terms of the wider global task ahead.

I won't say anything more now about the content of the report. I will be happy to answer your questions as best I can, not give you too much information, but maybe just a little.
But what I would like to say is how important it has been for members of the Commission to have this key meeting here in Hiroshima.

Whether we have been here before, as I have been as a very young student 45 years ago - or whether it was for the first time - being here working on this subject was a very intense and moving experience for all of us. Looking out the window, remembering, seeing what had happened in 1945. Listening again, as we have elsewhere to the testimony of the Hibakusha made us all realise again, that this is not just another policy exercise. This is not just another issue of security policy or intellectual chess. This is a grave, humanitarian issue for the world as a whole.

We have been desperately lucky as an international community that nothing has gone catastrophically wrong since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but we know that the consequences of any further use of this weapon would be simply devastating in humanitarian terms.

And I think you will find that for all its realism and for all its pragmatism and hard-headedness, that awareness is the spirit that runs through and motivates this whole report.

CHAIR (Japanese language):
Now we'd like to go to the question and answer session.
If you have questions please raise your hand and please say your name to who these questions are addressed.

QUESTION (Japanese language):
Hi, I am Maegawa from Asahi Shimbun Newspaper. I'd like to ask a question to Mr Gareth Evans. In Nigata in late August, you clearly said in your statement that at the “minimization point” you would see numbers of weapons reduced to the low hundreds worldwide. And do you think this report that you agreed today would meet that end? Thank you.

GARETH EVANS (English language):
We're not going to be specific about the numbers that we finally agree. This is one of the toughest issues to get right. Of course, we can pluck numbers out of the air and express optimism that we'll get there. But you have to be very hard headed and realistic. But what I can say is that the target for 2025 is very low numbers by comparison with what we have today. But I don't want to be any more specific than that.

FURTHER QUESTION (by Journalist – Maegawa) (Japanese language):
I just want a little follow up. Does that mean that you have not agreed on the numbers, or does that mean that you think it's going to change by the end of January, when the report submitted? Thank you.

GARETH EVANS (English language):
We have agreed on the specific recommendation that we want to make in this respect. We have agreed and we won't change that between now and January.

QUESTION (Japanese language):
Tomatsu from… [indistinct]… I'd like to ask Gareth Evans; no first use: by when and what exactly was decided?

GARETH EVANS (English language):
As co-chair Kawaguchi has said, this is an issue on which we, as a Commission do strongly feel that getting a commitment to no first use by all the nuclear armed states is a crucial step on the way to getting to zero. And it's very important that we get there as soon as possible.

I've already said in other public forums and, I think, Madam Kawaguchi has said today, we certainly would want to see everybody signed up to that and meaning it - not just a formal declaratory statement - by 2025. But we would also want such declarations to be made, if possible, much earlier than that. And there are other possible formulations: for example,
“sole purpose”. But we'd like to see movement on these matters as soon as possible.

One more word on this subject. Don't get too obsessive about no first use as an issue. Words are words. Unless no first use declarations are accompanied by serious re-arrangement of forces and serious re-arrangements of launch alert status, it may not mean very much. There's a lot of scepticism as to whether the original no first use commitment by USSR back in the '80s meant anything. And still some people are sceptical whether this commitment from China, at the moment, means anything. I don't comment on that, I'm just reporting.
It's important that words be matched by actions and I suspect that this will be an evolutionary development. If the momentum really starts generating in the way in which we want it to happen, all these things will come together: lower numbers, the right kind of commitment on doctrine, no first use, and changed force deployment arrangements - and that's really what we're trying to achieve.

So don't be obsessed by just one particular piece of the puzzle. What matters in practice is how all these things actually come together.

CHAIR (Japanese language):
The last question, because the time has come.

QUESTION (Japanese language):
My name is ….[indistinct]…. Kyodo News. I would like to ask Ms Kawaguchi - you cannot give us specific numbers in Hiroshima – so many people are interested in this Commission including the Hibakusha. I'm sure many people would like to hear the number. Why can't you express that number here? That is my question to Ms Kawaguchi and Mr Evans.

Next question will go to Mr Evans. Many people here in Hiroshima, especially a-bomb survivors, want to see the total elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020 - so 2025 is a kind of a long target, 2025 is a very long time for them to survive. So do you think that this should be a concern of these a-bomb survivors and relatives of these people? That's my second question. Thank you very much.

YORIKO KAWAGUCHI (Japanese language):
This report of the Commission responds to the tasking by the governments of this Commission, Australia and Japan. And today, what we have to do first is to report to the two Prime Ministers. And if we disclose everything, the Prime Ministers would know the result of this discussion reading the newspaper. So I don't want that to happen. This number has been fixed and it is said that we are not going to change that number. So please wait just for a few more days until we report this - because this is an important issue we have to report to the Prime Ministers first.

GARETH EVANS (English language):
Not just the Prime Ministers.

On your question, of course we would all want to see a nuclear weapon-free world tomorrow. And, having met, as I have, a number of the very elderly Hibakusha, it's a huge incentive to me, and I think the other Commissioners, to try and make this happen as soon as we possibly can.

But wishing that something will happen will not make it so. And I think one of the things you will see about this report is it's very hard-headed. It's very pragmatic. It's very realistic in its assessment, not only of the opportunities but also the constraints.

Many previous reports have painted a rosy picture of the world without weapons and, yes, we can get there, all we have to do is have the political will to do it. But it is complicated and it's going to take time.

But we are conscious of the emotion in all of this as well as the risk. The threat is that if we don't get rid of nuclear weapons quickly then maybe something catastrophic happens. So you won't find us dragging our feet in our recommendations. What you will find is a practical assessment of what is doable.

CHAIR (Japanese language):
So the time has come so we will close this session.

QUESTION (Japanese language)
I'd like to ask Gareth Evans-san - on the sixteenth you met a survivor who urged that a convention of nuclear weapons should be concluded as soon as possible. That's voiced by many survivors.

There are so many people who would like to see a nuclear convention concluded soon. ……. [indistinct] …… this is going to be the key issue: what kind of focus do you have on the proposed convention on nuclear weapons.

GARETH EVANS (English language):
The reality is that a nuclear weapons convention is going to have to accompany the achievement of disarmament, it's not really going to precede it by very much.

That said, I think it's very important for work to begin now on thinking through, working through all the legal complexities, and difficulties that are associated with creating a treaty regime to deal comprehensively with this issue.

There was a report somewhere, maybe from you, that the idea of the convention had been taken off the table. That's not true.

Thank you all very much.


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