G7 Meeting in Hiroshima Lacks Progress on Nuclear Weapons

May 25th, 2023 - by NoFirstUse Global

NoFirstUse Global will push on to the Non-Proliferation Treaty,
G20 Delhi Summit and UN General Assembly to implement the norm

G7 Hiroshima Summit Backtracks on
Norm against Nuclear Weapons
NoFirstUse Global

(May 23, 2023) — Leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and USA, who met in Hiroshima for the G7 Summit from May 19-21, adopted the G7 Leaders’ Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament. The Vision statement reaffirms commitments to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and criticizes Russia and China for their nuclear weapons policies, but fails to commit the G7 countries to any new measures to reduce nuclear threats or advance nuclear disarmament.

Worse, the Hiroshima Vision backtracks from the statement made at the G20 Bali Summit in November last year by the G20 Leaders — which includes all of the G7 Leaders — that ‘The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.”

Calls by civil society including NoFirstUse Global for the G7 leaders to reaffirm and begin implementing the Bali statement appeared to fall on deaf ears in Hiroshima.

Nuclear Taboo, from Norm to Law
Presented to the Hiroshima Summit

NoFirstUse Global gathered endorsements from over 1000 legislators, youth, academics/experts, religious leaders and civil society leaders from G7 and other countries for a declaration, Nuclear Taboo from Norm to Law, calling for affirmation and implementation of the Bali statement that “The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.”
NoFirstUse representatives presented the Declaration and list of endorsers to the Foreign Ministry of Japan (host of the G7 Summit) and to a cross-party meeting of parliamentarians in the Diet (Japanese parliament) in Tokyo, and to media and civil society observers of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima.

Despite this, the Hiroshima Vision statement backtracks on the Bali statement, weakening the norm against nuclear weapons. Instead of affirming that “The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible” (without exception or caveat), the Hiroshima Vision says only that “… threats by Russia of nuclear weapon use … in the context of its aggression against Ukraine are inadmissible.”

In addition, the Hiroshima Vision notes that “security policies are based on the understanding that nuclear weapons, for as long as they exist, should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression and prevent war and coercion.”

In essence the Hiroshima Vision implies (incorrectly) that it is perfectly “admissible” to threaten nuclear weapon use for defensive purposes and to deter aggression and prevent war and coercion,” said Aaron Tovish, NoFirstUse Global Steering Committee Member, speaking from Hiroshima. “Many of Russia’s string of nuclear threats have been couched in this language, as have many of the US’s past nuclear threats.” 

Neither Gold, Silver nor Bronze:
G7’s Substandard Performance in Hiroshima

“If we look at recent inter-governmental statements on the inadmissibility of threat or use of nuclear weapons, the G7’s Hiroshima Vision is so sub-standard it would not even ‘win’ a bronze medal.
“Gold medal would go to the Vienna Declaration of TPNW States Parties in which they “condemn unequivocally any and all nuclear threats, whether they be explicit or implicit and irrespective of the circumstances.”
“Silver medal would go to the Bali Declaration of the G20 which says that “The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.”
“Bronze medal would go to India and China for their no-first-use policies.”

— Aaron Tovish, NoFirstUse Global Steering Committee Member.

Onward to the NPT, G20 and UNGA
NoFirstUse Global is not giving up on implementation of the G20 affirmation that “The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.” We will continue to accept endorsements for Nuclear Taboo from Norm to Law in order to also present it to Preparatory Meeting of States Parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty in Vienna (August), G20 Summit in Delhi (September) and the UN General Assembly (October).

ACTION: Please encourage your colleagues to endorse so that we can elevate the political impact of this Declaration of Public Conscience.

Nuclear Taboo: From Norm to Law
A Declaration of Public Conscience
Organised by NoFirstUse Global

I endorse the following declaration:
“We, the peoples of the United Nations, affirm the conclusion made in the G20 Bali Declaration (November 2022) by Leaders of the G20 countries — Presidents Joseph Biden (USA), Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Turkey), Alberto Fernández (Argentina), Emmanuel Macron (France), Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), Joko Widodo (Indonesia), Xi Jinping (China), and Yoon Suk Yeol (South Korea); Prime Ministers Anthony Albanese (Australia), Fumio Kishida (Japan), Giorgia Meloni (Italy), Narendra Modi (India), Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (Saudi Arabia), Rishi Sunak (UK), and Justin Trudeau (Canada); Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Germany); Foreign Ministers Marcelo Ebrard (Mexico), Carlos França (Brazil), and Sergey Lavrov (Russian Federation); and EU Presidents Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen — that:
“The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.”

We call on the United Nations, through decisions of its Security Council and General Assembly, to enshrine this stance as a dictate of international law and to require all member states to comply fully, in order to ensure their security policies and practices rule-out the initiation of nuclear war including any first-use of nuclear weapons.

The advent of this qualitatively diminished role for nuclear weapons would enhance the prospects for establishing a nuclear-weapon-free world, and should be used with utmost determination to achieve that essential goal.”

NoFirstUse Global is a network of organizations, academics, policy makers and civil society advocates working cooperatively for the adoption of no-first-use policies by nuclear-armed States, the support for such policies from nuclear allied countries, and the implementation of such policies to help achieve broader nuclear risk-reduction, non-proliferation and disarmament measures.