Dear Mr Mike Gapes I am a Japanese citizen and, since I repeatedly heard of the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, I strongly ask you to oppose the renewal or replacement of Trident, the WMD possessed by UK.
We have collected signatures* from many Japanese people asking Prime Minister Tony Blair to renounce the Trident system, and sent it to 10 Downing Street last month. We received a reply from the Prime Minister's office. In that letter, among several reasons to justify keeping the nuclear WMD , they wrote "there is also a new and potentially hazardous threat from states such as North Korea which claims already to have developed nuclear weapons or Iran which is in breach of its non-proliferation duties".
We live far closer to North Korea, but we do not want Japan to use this as an excuse to get nuclear weapons. Also, please consider which is the more serious breach of the NPT and international security - to take the first steps to obtain the WMD or to keep deploying and threatening to use the WMD for years and even to renew them? Besides, even North Korea hopes to resolve its problems with diplomacy and will give up its nuclear ambitions if that is successful. But Britain doesn't seem to want to consider diplomacy instead of renewing its nuclear weapons.
In that letter it is also stated as a pretext to keep the WMD that "no present nuclear power is or is even considering divesting itself of its nuclear capability unilaterally". We will never get rid of the nuclear nightmare if all nuclear powers say the same thing forever . In our view, this decision would mean Britain will invest in a new generation of nuclear weapons "unilaterally", and that will further undermine the multilateral non-proliferation regime.
I sincerely ask you to lead the discussion of the House of Commons to deny the renewal of the Trident system. I hope that your country, the country where the idea of the A-bomb was first born** and raised, would become the leader to bring the nuclear-free future to the world by unilaterally renouncing your WMD.
Yours sincerely, Kouichi TOYOSHIMA Professor of physics at the University of Saga, Japan
* on-line petition page for the Japanese http://ad9.org/f365j/faslane.html ** "Frish-Peiers Memorandum", and the "Maud Report".
つまり，4 Dec 2006の議事録のColumn 21からColumn 24までが同封されていました． ＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿＿
10 DOWNING STREET LONDON SW1A 2AA
From the Direct Communications Unit 28 February 2007
Mr Kouichi Toyoshima 245-11Toyoda Yamamoto-machi Kurume-shi 839-0827 Japan
Dear Mr Toyoshima
I am writing on behalf of the Prime Minister to thank you for your recent letters and enclosed petition regarding Trident.
Mr Blair would like to reply personaliy, but as I hope you will appreciate, he receives many thousands of letters each week and this is not always possible.
As you may be aware, on 4 December 2006, the Government published a White Paper setting out plans to maintain the UK's nuclear deterrent. I enclose a copy of the statement that the Prime Minister made to the House of Commons that day explaining the Government's decision. Essentially, the Government's judgment was that, on balance. it could not be certain in the decades ahead that a major nuclear threat to the UK's strategic interests will not emerge; that there is also a new and potentially hazardous threat from states such as North Korea which claims already to have developed nuclear weapons or lran which is in breach of its non-proliferation duties; that there is a possible connection between some of those states and international terrorism; that it is noteworthy that no present nuclear power is or is even considering divesting itself of its nuclear capability unilaterally; and that in these circumstances, it would be unwise and dangerous for Britain. alone of any of the nuclear powers, to give up its independent nuclear deterrent.
Some have argued that this decision did not need to be taken now. But the fact is that the Vanguard submarines, which carry the Trident missiles, will start to near the end of their service life in the early 2020s. That will be after a five year extension. Given the time it takes to design and build new submarines, a decision needed to be taken now as whether or not to do so.
The costs of replacing the submarines will be refmed as detailed discussions with industry progress. The Government's current estimate is that the procurement costs of the new submarines and associated equipment and infrastructure will be in the region of ?15-20 billion (at 2006/07 prices) for a four submarine fleet, although the Government will be assessing whether it could maintain the deterrent with just three. The costs will fall principally in the period between 2012 and 2027.
The decision to replace the Trident system does not in anyway weaken the Government's commitment to the nuclear Non-Proliferatlon Treaty (NPT). which the Government regards as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation and disarmament regime. This issue was covered in detail in the White Paper, and in the supporting fact sheets, which are available on the Minlstry of Defence (MOD) website (www.mod.uk). Maintaining a minimum nuclear deterrent is fully consistent with all the UK's international legal obligations. including those under the NPT. The UK is, in fact, the only nuclear weapons state recognised under the NPT to have a deterrent based on a single platform, delivery system and warhead design, and have already significantly reduced the scale and readiness of the Trident system.
In addition to this, the White Paper announced that the Government has decided to reduce the number of operationally available nuclear warheads to less than 160, a cut of 20 % compared to the previously declared maximum. This means that the UK will have reduced the upper limit on it operationally available nuclear warheads by nearly half since 1997.
I hope that this helps to explain the Government's position on this matter. As the Prime Minister made clear to the House of Commons, there will be a full Parliamentary debate and vote on this issue in the spring. This will allow plenty of time for all interested parties to make their views known.