The Tokyo International Conference on Semipalatinsk

1. Nuclear Testing in Semipalatinsk

  During the time of the former Soviet Union, a nuclear testing range was initiated in the Semipalatinsk region, located in north-east Kazakhstan. Between 29 August 1949 and 19 October 1989, when the last nuclear explosion took a place (the area itself officially existed till 1991) approximately 500 atmospheric and underground nuclear explosions were conducted. As the result, they caused devastating damage on the population in the Semipalatinsk region. The number of those who live in the polluted area is said to be over 1.6 million people and it is estimated that still to this day, 300,000 people have been suffering from the effects of exposure to radiation.

2. United Nations General Assembly Resolution

  At the 52nd session of The United Nations General Assembly in 1997, the first Resolution regarding the assistance to the Semipalatinsk region was adopted. Later at the 53rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1998, another Resolution was adopted which invites the United Nations to pursue a consultative process on modalities for mobilizing the necessary support to seek appropriate solutions to the problems and needs of the Semipalatinsk region.
The Japanese Government, at the 53rd UNGA session, announced its intention to host an international conference on Semipalatinsk within 1999, upon the request of the Government of Republic of Kazakhstan and UNDP.

3. Aims of the Tokyo Conference

  Considering the fact that Japan is the only country that has experienced nuclear bombings, and considering also its experience on medical and health care for the affected people, Japan assists the Government of Kazakhstan and the citizens there who have been making efforts to seek a solution of the negative problems which they have inherited from the past.
Due to the nuclear testing, the health of the population in the region has been significantly effected. Environmental problems also occurred by the testing. In addition, the closing of the testing range made the local economy seriously difficult in the region. The concept of 'HumanSecurity' requires that these threats to existence and dignitity of human-beings should be removed. From this point of views, the Tokyo Conference will be held using the expenditures from the Human Security TTrust Fund.

4. General Information

(1) Date: 6-7 September 1999
(2) Place: International Convention Center 'Pamir', New Takanawa Prince Hotel, TOKYO
(3) Host: Government of Japan, United Nations Development Programme
(4) Participants: Members of governments, non-governmental organisations, and multilateral organisations which are involved or interested in this issue
(5) Objectives:
   - To raise awareness in the international community about the current situations of the Semipalatinsk region
   - To appeal to the international community for further assistance to meet the urgent needs in the Semipalatinsk region
   - To consider possible cooperation and co-ordination of the international community
   - To inform participants about the Kazakhstan government's institutional arrangements to manage, co-ordinate, use and account for international assistance
   First session (6/9/99) Priority needs and medical assistance to the affected population
   Second session (7/9/99) Other major consequences and priorities for aid action

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