Remarks by ICNND Co-chairs Ms Yoriko Kawaguchi and Prof Gareth Evans at the Launch of Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A Practical Agenda for Global Policy Makers, 15 December 2009 - Tokyo 

Transcript, E & O E

15 December 2009

Remarks by ICNND Co-chairs Ms Yoriko Kawaguchi and Prof Gareth Evans at the Launch of Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A Practical Agenda for Global Policy Makers.


Yoriko Kawaguchi: The International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament was launched as a joint initiative by the Prime Ministers of Japan and Australia in July 2008.

After holding four commission meetings and four regional meetings, the Commission finalised its report. I would like to express my gratitude to the Governments of Japan and Australia, led by Prime Minister Hatoyama and Prime Minister Rudd for the support extended to us, in particular for the Government of Australia for funding most of the expenses of the Commission.

I would also like to pay my respect to and thank my colleague and co-chair, Professor Evans, for his hard work and able leadership backed by his extensive knowledge and insight.

Eminent and renowned individuals from various parts of the world participated in ICNND as commissioners. Today, we have the presence of ambassadors of the countries where commissioners are from, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the contributions of the commissioners and also the advisory board members, consisting of distinguished experts, who assisted with our work.

Also present, Japanese advisors, Ambassador Nobuyasu Abe, Director of the Centre for the Promotion of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, and Dr Shunsuke Kondo, Chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission.

I would like to thank their professional support and I would also like to thank the expertise and contributions of other advisors.

The Commission’s aim to strengthen efforts towards a world without nuclear weapons will become sustainable only when we are supported by civil society. In this regard, my gratitude goes to Mr Akira Kawasaki, co-leader of the Peace Boat, who is with us and served as my NGO adviser; Mayor Akiba of Hiroshima; Mayor Taue of Nagasaki and all others for their useful input to the Commission.

When I assumed the co-chairmanship of this Commission, I initiated a task force, and the members of the task force are with us, and I would like to thank them. I strongly wish this report will strengthen the current momentum for nuclear disarmament and promote a successful outcome at next year’s NPT Review Conference, and further strengthen international efforts towards a nuclear weapons-free world.

This report is not just stating ambitious ideals, but written as a practical one based on realities. I hope the Government of Japan and Australia and the world’s leading policymakers reflect the contents of the report in their policies. To this end, ICNND will not just be a forum for eminent persons but will actively and directly approach governments, parliaments and citizens on the importance of their endeavours.

As part of our initiatives, we plan to undertake an international outreach program to include individual presentations to governments and at various international conferences.

Thank you very much.

Gareth Evans: Prime Ministers, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen – might I express at the outset my own very warms thanks to Yoriko Kawaguchi for the pleasure and the privilege of working with her, and may I join with her in thanking everyone who has contributed to the production of this report, not least Ian Biggs and the Canberra secretariat who have given me every possible personal support.

I believe that our report satisfies the hopes and the expectations of all those who wanted a report from this Commission which was comprehensive, timely, based on worldwide consultations, and above all, useful to policymakers. And I do believe we have produced a report which will contribute a great deal in its analysis, its ideas and in its arguments, and above all, as Kawaguchi-san has already said, will contribute a great deal in the practical realism and capacity for implementation of its policy proposals. The short, medium, and the long-term action agendas that we spell out.

I know that probably in some parts of this report we have gone a little bit beyond the comfort zones of even our sponsoring governments, but I do hope we can take you with us and I hope together we can take this report to the rest of the world and take the world with us.

The starting and the finishing point of this report really have these messages: the problem of nuclear weapons defies complacency, just as with the great global issue of climate change, the status quo is not an option. Nuclear weapons are the most inherently indiscriminate inhumane weapon that has ever been invented. The risk of their misuse outweighs any conceivable security benefits they can now deliver. We can only be comfortable once and for all when the world is finally rid of these weapons.

So long – and this is the basic principle to emerge from the Canberra Commission 10 years ago and it’s central to the message of our report – so long as any state retains nuclear weapons, others will want them. So long as any weapons continue to exist, they are bound one day to be used by accident or miscalculation if not design, and any such use will be catastrophic for this planet, this world as we know it.

They are the themes of this report. We commend them to our sponsoring governments, we commend them to the world and we hope they have real resonance in the period ahead.

Thank you.

[ Ends ]

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