Date: Sun, 30 Aug 98 00:42:04 CDT
From: Harsh Kapoor <email@example.com>
An Appeal from Scientists in Japan to the Scientists and Citizens of the World: Charging Scientists with Moral Responsibility for the New Crisis in Nuclear Proliferation
23 August 1998
We, the undersigned, are eighteen natural scientists working in various fields from Japan, a nation which itself has experienced nuclear attack. Upon learning of the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in May 1998, our reaction was one of tremendous sorrow, anger, and frustration. These tests have increased the risk of nuclear war to a new and ominous level. They have drastically lowered the barriers to the possession and testing of nuclear weapons, creating a dangerous environment in which nuclear weapons may be put to use anywhere in the world at any time. It is with an acute and unprecedented sense of crisis that we, as scientists, issue this appeal to scientists and citizens throughout the world on this, the fifty-third anniversary of the first atomic bombings.
With the end of the Cold War, a period during which the United States and the former Soviet Union threatened each other with massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons, global concern about the nuclear threat quickly diminished. People understandably assumed that nuclear disarmament would soon follow. We believe that this very slackening of the tension and vigilance forced upon the world's citizens by the Cold War has led to the present crisis. We are appalled by the dearth of protests raised against the recent nuclear tests by India and Pakistan, for it is our conviction that nuclear proliferation cannot be prevented through governance by the world's superpowers, but only by the efforts of citizens and scientists around the globe.
Despite the presence of conditions conducive to a drastic reduction of nuclear arms, the globalization of capitalism has been accompanied by intensified ethnic strife and a heightened risk of nuclear proliferation, with a growing likelihood that nuclear weapons will someday be employed in regional disputes.
Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we reexamine the true implications of nuclear armament. Developed for the purpose of indiscriminately slaughtering many people at once, these weapons are unequaled in their brutality. The atomic bombs that were dropped on two Japanese cities did not distinguish among their victims: they killed, for example, infants and the elderly, workers and schoolchildren, armed soldiers and unarmed students, Japanese and non-Japanese alike. Human beings vanished without a trace, turned in an instant to steam, charcoal, or ash. Radioactivity doomed most of the initial survivors to a lingering, painful death. Fifty years later, many of the surviving victims of those first atomic blasts still suffer. Nuclear bombs are not merely weapons of mass destruction, a logical extension of conventional arms: they are hideous, barbaric devices that must never be used again.
Modern science, ostensibly the fruit of human wisdom, is deeply implicated in the production of nuclear weaponry. We believe that scientists who have participated in nuclear arms development bear a heavy moral responsibility for their work, and are in fact nothing less than accessories to a crime against humanity. Loyalty to one's nation, race, or religion is no excuse for denying this responsibility, which all scientists everywhere must recognize and accept anew.
The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki learned, at tremendous cost, that humanity cannot coexist with nuclear weapons, and they have conveyed this lesson to the rest of the world for the past fifty years. Sadly, the world at large has yet to accept the truth of their message. Today we appeal with renewed urgency to the scientists and citizens of the world to join us in resuming the battle against the culture of nuclear weaponry.
1 To the Governments of India and Pakistan:
We view the nuclear tests conducted by India as a gross betrayal of the position that India itself has taken in denouncing the hypocritical and discriminatory policies of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime established by the declared nuclear states.
In criticizing the special privileges enjoyed by the nuclear states while developing nuclear weapons itself and thus seeking to acquire those same privileges, India not only fails to solve the problem, but actively reinforces the same discriminatory regime. The development of nuclear weapons inevitably encourages other nations with this capability to follow suit, as India's neighbor Pakistan has now done.
The recent nuclear tests by India and Pakistan have raised the threat of nuclear war to an unprecedented level. Both governments must cease this foolish arms race and renounce the path to nuclear statehood immediately. This is the only moral choice, one that will increase the prestige of both nations, not reduce it. We are greatly encouraged by the presence in both countries of significant numbers of scientists and other citizens who oppose these nuclear tests. To them we extend a hand of friendship across national borders and affirm our solidarity with their acts of conscience.
2 To the Five Nuclear States:
We believe that the recent nuclear tests have conclusively demonstrated the hypocrisy of the five declared nuclear states and the failure of the NPT status quo. The NPT is an inherently discriminatory treaty that does not have the abolition of nuclear arms as its objective. Nor have the declared nuclear states kept their pledge to reduce nuclear arms as stipulated by the treaty. On the contrary, some of these nations are pursuing the development of such new nuclear technologies as subcritical testing, betraying not merely their lack of enthusiasm for halting nuclear weapons development, but their intention to develop even more sophisticated nuclear weapons through deceptive methods. The actions of the nuclear club thus pose a challenge to humanity at large.
With the bankruptcy of the NPT regime now more apparent than ever, it is imperative that the five nuclear states acknowledge their own hypocrisy. Our goal can no longer be the reinforcement of the nuclear status quo as maintained by the declared nuclear powers. Instead, these nations must abandon the privileged status they have enjoyed until now and embark on a systematic and comprehensive arms reduction program that aims for the complete abolition of nuclear weapons.
3 The Failure of Nuclear Deterrence
We unequivocally reject the "nuclear deterrence" rationale for the possession of nuclear arms by India and Pakistan.
The logic of nuclear deterrence has been used by both India and Pakistan to justify their acquisition of nuclear arms. It is based on this logic that the leadership of Pakistan has said "We don't want to be another Hiroshima or Nagasaki." Such a defense is abhorrent and utterly false in its assumptions. It perversely exploits the suffering of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as an argument for nuclear development and ultimately for the extinction of the human race. We regard this comment as an unparalleled insult to the victims of nuclear war and to their unrelenting pleas for nuclear disarmament over the past half century. As a rationale for nuclear testing it is utterly unacceptable.
The invalidity of the "nuclear deterrence" approach as a means of preventing nuclear arms development is now obvious. We must not forget that nuclear deterrence is predicated on the cruel logic of holding hostage the entire populations of hypothetical enemy states. Today, any college student with a basic knowledge of modern physics can manufacture an atomic bomb. In these circumstances, the development or acquisition of nuclear weapons is not a deterrent to anything, but simply an act of aggression. Now is the time for all nations to renounce any attempt to acquire nuclear weapons under the pretext of nuclear deterrence.
4 Toward a Nuclear-Free Civilization
Our nuclear civilization, built on the dream of liberating and harnessing the tremendous energy of the atomic nucleus, now seems more likely to visit a terrible calamity upon the human race and the natural environment, even if nuclear war per se is averted.
Scientific research has already established that technology capable of stopping the radioactivity produced by nuclear energy is beyond our grasp. The tragedy at Chernobyl is only one of many nuclear disasters that have created radioactivity victims all over the world. Meanwhile, nations continue to stockpile the deadly toxin plutonium, ostensibly to serve as the energy source of the future. But because plutonium can be easily converted to nuclear weapons use, such efforts have merely increased political tensions and the penchant for governmental secrecy while creating yet another threat to human survival. Nuclear technology is fundamentally violent and destructive in nature, a fact to which the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bear tragic witness. Human efforts to control this technology have met only with failure, spawning nuclear victims and environmental contamination on a massive scale throughout the earth.
Civilian and military use of nuclear energy are merely two sides of a coin: the technology is the same. Humanity can ill afford any further delay in converting our nuclear civilization to a nuclear-free one. Not only must the world' s scientists immediately cease their involvement with nuclear weapons development, they must mobilize their knowledge and their consciences for the battle to free humanity from the clutches of this nuclear culture.
5 Toward the Demilitarization of Science and Technology and a Global Revival of the Anti-Nuclear Movement
Until now, the proliferation of nuclear weapons has been obstructed primarily by the voluntary efforts of scientists and the vigilance of everyday citizens.
The willingness of scientists to prostitute themselves to the transient and selfish interests of their own particular nation or ethnic group cannot be tolerated. In their research and all other activities, scientists must adopt a rational and unwavering stance on behalf of the interests of the entire human race. They must cultivate within themselves a conscience that reflects the moral concerns of humanity. Furthermore, scientists must accept responsibility, as citizens of their community and of the world at large, for the consequences of their research and development. No other course is acceptable for those who purport to be the bearers of the wisdom of human civilization.
In retrospect it is clear that many developments in science and technology have been employed not to benefit human beings, but to kill them. Ever since Japan embarked on its systematic adoption of modern science, the scientists of our nation, too, have been culpable of active involvement in military science and technology. In issuing this statement we have no intention of ignoring our own nation's bitter legacy. Science and technology must be servants for the good of the entire human community, without regard for national boundaries. For this very reason, we must strive for the demilitarization of all science and technology.
Today we stand on the brink of a new abyss, a new crisis in nuclear proliferation. We call on the citizens of every nation to join hands with the scientific community -- and at the same time, to monitor the scientific community ? so that together we may exercise vigilance both within our respective countries and without. We must keep a watchful eye not only on our own governments, but those of the nuclear states; and we must join together in global solidarity to demilitarize science and technology and liberate ourselves from our nuclear culture.
August 6, 1998
Ikuro Anzai (professor of Ritsumeikan University, Radiation Protection)
A Declaration to the Government of Japan
We, the undersigned, are deeply ashamed of our own government. On the one hand, the Japanese government issues appeals for nuclear arms reduction to other nations, citing Japan's experience with nuclear attack at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yet this same government shamelessly hides under the nuclear umbrella provided by the United States. For the past thirty years Japan has consistently abstained whenever the General Assembly of the United Nations voted on the abolition of nuclear arms. Now our government is stockpiling massive quantities of plutonium, an ingredient in nuclear weaponry that it claims will be used for peaceful purposes. Nor has it made any effort to respond in good faith to the concerns voiced by other nations over this program.
If those of us who seek the abolition of nuclear weapons are to convince people around the world of the sincerity our intentions, the Japanese government must demonstrate its commitment to a non-nuclear course by adopting policies toward this end and acting on them. Japan must emerge from under the American nuclear umbrella; the government is deluding itself if it believes that this umbrella offers our nation any real protection. It must acknowledge that far from protecting us, the nuclear umbrella places us in grave danger. Japan must refuse to cooperate in any way with the nuclear strategies of other nations. Instead, it must redirect its efforts to the expansion of a nuclear-free zone around Japan and, ultimately, the achievement of a nuclear-free world. We demand this of the government of Japan.
August 6, 1998
Ikuro Anzai (professor of Ritsumeikan University, Radiation