Nuclear Issues - 1990-2019

核兵器問題 1990年〜2019年


  At present Australia, like New Zealand, is in the fortunate position to be experiencing a decline in the number of new cases of Corona virus, although
sadly many other parts of the world are still facing a worrying increase in new cases as well as deaths. The severity of this pandemic has naturally led the media to focus on this global problem. Accordingly, many other crucial issues like global warming and nuclear issues have been ignored. Distressingly, the current and future situation regarding nuclear weapons worldwide looks very grim.
  In 1998, my wife, Jo, and I translated the Japanese picture book, Hiroshima no Genbaku (Fukuinkan Shoten, Tokyo) written by Nasu Masamoto and illustrated by Nishimura Shigeo. The title of the English edition is Hiroshima: A Tragedy Never to Be Repeated. This book gives information on the historical background of the production of the A-Bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, as well as the devastating effects of the bomb upon the people in this city. The book also details basic scientific information on nuclear physics, nuclear arms and illnesses caused by radiation. At the end of the book, there is an historical chart, which gives information on major events and nuclear accidents that happened every year between 1945 - 1997.
  The book has consistently sold well in Japan over the past 22 years, in particular at the A-Bomb Museum bookshop in Hiroshima. In recent years we had become increasingly aware that the historical chart should be extended from 1997 to the present. However, technical problems when re-printing meant this was not easy. Instead, when preparing for the new edition released in November last year, we elected to add a short explanation about the history of nuclear issues between 1990 and 2019 at the end of the book.        
  Below is a copy of this explanation and we hope this will help you to understand how critical the situation regarding the nuclear arms now is. 


Nuclear Issues - 1990-2019

  During the early 1990s there was a positive shift towards nuclear disarmament among the major nuclear power states, mainly due to the official end of the Cold War at the close of 1989, following the fall of the Berlin Wall in November that year. Simultaneously, however, a reverse trend emerged within some smaller nations. This was partly related to the outcome of the Gulf War in January 1991, in which Iraq was decisively defeated by the coalition forces led by the US military. Shortly after the war, smaller nations hostile to the US such as North Korea and Iran began contemplating developing nuclear weapons themselves as a deterrent to the US. In 1993 North Korea withdrew from the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) and in the following year from the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). In 1993 it tested its first intermediate-range missile, Nodon 1. Twelve years later it claimed possession of its first nuclear weapons and in 2009 it produced an ICBM (inter-continental ballistic missile). Similarly, after the Gulf War, Iran strengthened its desire to produce weapons-grade plutonium itself and has pursued this aim ever since.       
  It should be noted that during the Gulf War, the coalition forces led by the US used 950,000 depleted uranium bullets (about 300 tons), which later caused “the Gulf War Syndrome” - acute symptoms similar to those caused by radiation exposure - among US soldiers. NATO forces also used about 10,000 depleted uranium bullets during the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995, and again more than 30,000 bullets during the Kosovo Conflict in March-June 1999. On each occasion symptoms similar to “the Gulf War Syndrome” affected NATO soldiers.      
  India, which conducted its first nuclear weapon test in 1974 as a deterrent to China and Pakistan, carried out nuclear tests five times in mid-May 1998, one of which was an H-bomb test. To counteract this bold demonstration of nuclear power, Pakistan, too, conducted six nuclear tests in late May the same year, thereby creating a serious possibility of nuclear war between these two nations. This risk still exists today. 
  Although the major nuclear power states ceased nuclear weapon tests by the mid 1990s, in the latter half of that decade both the US and Russia started so-called “subcritical nuclear experiments.” These tests serve to identify and diminish uncertainties in weapon performances without actually exploding nuclear weapons. Ever since the US, Russia and China have repeatedly conducted such experiments as a substitute to underground nuclear weapon tests.
  On September 10, 1996, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the CTBT (Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty) – a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear explosions in all environments. As of February 2019, 168 states have ratified the CTBT and another 16 states have signed this agreement, although not yet ratified it. The US, China, Israel, Iran and Egypt have signed but not ratified; India, Pakistan and North Korea have not signed it.
  On September 11, 2001, the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda carried out a series of suicide attacks against the US, completely destroying the World Trade Center in New York and partially damaging the Pentagon Building in Washington DC. Almost 3,000 people were killed. In October that year, the US responded by declaring a War on Terror and invaded Afghanistan to depose the Taliban. In March 2003, the coalition led by the US forces invaded Iraq, claiming that Iraq was behind these terrorist attacks and was also producing nuclear as well as chemical and bacteriological weapons. Ultimately no such weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. In order to confront terrorist groups and “rogue states,” the US started placing new emphasis on “non-strategic nuclear force employment” and limited or regional nuclear operations. It meant a greater focus on tactical nuclear weapons including the development of “mini-nukes,” despite an overall reduction in the number of nuclear weapons.              
  In May 2002 the US and Russia concluded negotiations on SORT (Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty), which stipulated a ceiling of 1,700-2,200 deployed strategic warheads for the nuclear arsenals of each country. Since the end of the Cold War, the two nations had made efforts to reduce their nuclear weapons through a number of treaties like START I (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) signed in 1991 and START II signed in 1993. START I barred its signatories from deploying more than 6,000 nuclear warheads in addition to a total of 1,600 ICBM and bombers equipped for nuclear armaments. Yet, START II, which aimed to further reduce the number of nuclear warheads in both countries to a cap of 3,000–3,500, did not come into force due to disagreement over the issue of missile defense.
  New START was signed by US President Barack Obama and Russian Prime Minister Anatolyevich Medvedev on 8 April 2010. This new treaty was to reduce the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, 10% less than the deployed strategic warhead limit of the 2002 treaty SORT. It was also to limit the number of deployed ICBMs, SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles) and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments to 700. The treaty came into force on February 5, 2011 and is due to expire on February 5, 2021.
  On April 5, 2009, a year prior to the New START agreement, Obama made a grand speech in Hradčany Square in the center of Prague, where he spoke of his dream to abolish nuclear weapons. This announcement led him to win the Nobel Peace Prize that year. New START was undoubtedly a remarkable achievement, but in actual fact, many dismantled nuclear warheads are stockpiled and still operational in both the US and Russia. The treaty does not limit the number of such operationally inactive stockpiled nuclear warheads. Thus, as of May 2019, Russia has a stockpile of 2,730 deployable nuclear warheads and the US 2,050. In addition, both the US and Russia have 1,600 nuclear warheads each currently under deployment. The total estimated number of deployed and deployable nuclear warheads worldwide is 9,155, of which 7,980 (87%) belong to the US and Russia. About 1,800 out of 3,759 currently deployed nuclear weapons throughout the world are categorized as “high alert,” meaning they can be launched very quickly. These nuclear weapons alone could destroy the entire world many times over.  
  Despite these agreements, some nuclear power states, in particular the US, continue to allocate a huge annual budget for “modernization programs” of nuclear weapons. Notwithstanding his Prague speech and Nobel Peace Prize of 2009, Obama substantially increased the US budget for refurbishing existing deployable warheads through the so-called “Life Extension Program,” modernizing “Strategic Delivery Systems” (missiles, submarines and bombers) and the “Nuclear Weapons Production Complex.” In 2014, his administration projected that the US would spend a staggering $1 trillion over the following 30 years to maintain the current arsenal, by buying replacement systems 
and upgrading existing nuclear bombs and warheads.
  In April 2014, the government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands filed lawsuits in the ICJ (International Court of Justice) in The Hague to hold the nine nuclear-armed states accountable for flagrant violations of international law with respect to their nuclear disarmament obligations under the 1968 NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) and customary international law. The lawsuits filed in the ICJ were accompanied by a related lawsuit in the US Federal District Court in San Francisco against the United States. These were unprecedented legal actions against the violation of NPT by the nuclear power states. 
  The US government under the Trump administration intends to continue the “modernization plan” laid out by the Obama administration. It aims to develop several new nuclear weapon capabilities, in particular small-size and “usable” tactical nuclear weapons as well as low-yield (SLBM) submarine-launched ballistic missiles. It also proposes the longer-term development of new nuclear submarine-launched cruise missiles (SLCM).
  On February 2, 2019, the Trump administration notified Russia of the US intension to withdraw from the INF Treaty - the agreement for banning Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces – signed by the Soviet Prime Minister, Mikhail Gorbachev and the US President, Ronald Regan in December 1987. As a result, the INF Treaty was terminated on August 2, 2019. This treaty was a significant step towards the end of the Cold War in December 1989. Trump claimed that Russia was violating the treaty by building and deploying a new type of cruise missile known as the SSC-8 and thereby jeopardizing US national security. The Trump administration also suspects that China, which is not a party to the INF Treaty, is gaining military advantage in East Asia by deploying large numbers of treaty-noncompliant missiles.
  As noted above, New START, which came in to force in February 2011, will expire in February 2021. Although a 5-year extension is possible, the future of this treaty does not look secure given the current unpredictable bilateral US-Russian relationship. If New START becomes ineffective in 2021, there will be no legal binding force to limit the nuclear arms forces of the two most powerful nations, meaning the world nuclear situation would revert to that of 1972 – a disastrous regression.
  Since 2010, in particular, civil movements against nuclear weapons such as ICAN (International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons) have been vigorously active. Established in April 2007, ICAN used IPPNW (International Physicians for the Prevention
of Nuclear War) as its base for augmenting the campaign against nuclear weapons. IPPNW had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. ICAN in turn made a significant contribution to making the United Nations adopt the TPNW (Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons) which was adopted on July 7, 2017 by a vote of 122 to 1. This treaty, which prohibits the development, testing, production, manufacture, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, transfer, use and threatened use of nuclear weapons or other
nuclear explosive devices will come into force once it has been ratified by 50 states.
 ICAN was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for this achievement. As of August 2019, however, only 26 of 70 signatory states have ratified the treaty.
  Nuclear weapons and their role in the world today are a matter of grave concern for the reasons indicated above. A constant reminder of their dangers are the devastating and on-going effects of accidents at nuclear power stations like Chernobyl in the Ukraine in April 1986 and Fukushima in Japan in March 2011. In order to achieve a safe and peaceful world, free from the dangers of irradiation and mass destruction a myriad of complex problems centered around nuclear weapons and energy must first be overcome.

(September 2019)
Yuki Tanaka & Joanna King

ps. For some cheerier inspiration see Pete Seeger singing Forever Young

  しかし、核兵器問題については世界の状況はこの数年ひじょうに悪化しています。昨年8月には、1987年に締結されたINF(中距離核戦力全廃)条約を、アメリカが一方的に破棄しました。来年2月にはNew START(新戦略兵器削減条約)の期限が切れますが、トランプ大統領はこれを延長するつもりはありません。したがって、この条約が失効すると核兵器を規制する国際条約は皆無となります。そんな状況の下、アメリカは使用可能な小型核兵器の開発・製造にやっきになっています。ひじょうに危険な状況になっているのです。


The Music of Easter 復活祭の音楽

Easter 2020 is a very different experience for everyone this year, and I feel compelled to search for ways to brighten our hopes for an end to this overwhelming disaster. May the following music offer inspiration in this direction.
I hope you are able to stay safe and well and that we can embrace better times in the near future.
With best wishes



Wonderful merciful Savior - Mwangaza
Mwangaza is a children's choir based in Kampala, Uganda. Through traditional African worship songs and dance they raise awareness and support for the churches, schools, medical clinics and orphanages throughout Uganda.

JS Bach - Air On The G String OrganJonathan Scott

Hifumi Hachigaeshi 一二三鉢返し
Hachigaeshi was played by the Komuso (a mendicant Zen priest of Fuke sect) expressing his gratitude when he returned the bowl to the house owner after receiving alms.
Rodrigo Rodriguez shakuhachi   尺八:ロドリゴ・ロドリゲス
Jacomina Kistemaker monochord  モノコード:ジャコミア・キステメイカー

"Pie Jesu" from "Requiem" by Gabriel Fauré
Boy soprano : Aksel Rykkvin  ボーイ・スプラノ:アスケル・リックビン

Benedictus from “Armed Man: A Mass for Peace” by Karl Jenkins 
Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir Zvjezdice, Cello: Hauser
「ミサ賛歌」(カール・ジェンキンス作曲「武装した男:平和のためのミサ曲」より) チェロ:ハウザー  ザグレブ交響楽団 

The opening chorus from the St Matthew Passion
Netherlands Bach Society
バッハ作曲「マタイ受難曲」導入合唱 オランダ・バッハ協会オーケストラ 
Netherlands Bach Society
The opening chorus from the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244). The St Matthew Passion tells the story of the last days of Jesus - betrayed, tried, crucified and buried. 「マタイ受難曲」はキリストの最後の受難(弟子の裏切り、裁判、磔、埋葬)を描写した大曲です。
Violinist: Sato Shunsuke, Concert master & Artistic Director of the Netherland Bach Society
ヴァイオリン 佐藤俊介
オランダのバッハ協会・オーケストラのコンサートマスター、芸術監督 https://www.shunskesato.com/blank-yc12f