原爆忌 核軍縮を着実に前進させたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun
We must strive for steady progress in efforts for nuclear disarmament
原爆忌 核軍縮を着実に前進させたい

By transmitting to the world the real facts of being a country where atomic bombs were dropped, we should solidify a global trend of nuclear disarmament so as not to let the catastrophic consequences of such a weapon occur again.

On Wednesday, Hiroshima marked the 69th anniversary of becoming a victim of an atomic bomb during the war.

During a ceremony to commemorate the atomic bombing, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui called for the international community to make efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons by saying, “We pledge to join forces with people the world over seeking the abolition of the absolute evil, nuclear weapons, and the realization of lasting world peace.”

There are about 17,000 nuclear warheads in the world. China is building up its nuclear capability while North Korea, which is proceeding with its nuclear development program, has repeatedly conducted ballistic missile tests.

Taking these threats into account, Japan has no option but to depend on the nuclear umbrella of the United States. Even so, it is a mission of Japan, as the sole country where atomic bombs were dropped, to testify to the world about the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons, while making incessant efforts to realize nuclear arms reduction.

The ministerial meeting of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) hosted by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida—attended by 12 nonnuclear nations and held in Hiroshima in April—should be recognized as part of such efforts made by Japan.

Realistic approaches

In the statement adopted by the Hiroshima meeting, the participating countries stressed the need for a systematic and continued reduction of all types of nuclear weapons. They also said it was important to discuss the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.

Of the 12 nations, seven states including Japan, Australia, Canada and Germany depend on the U.S. nuclear umbrella. The seven countries are characterized by their realistic approaches to realizing gradual nuclear disarmament, instead of calling for an immediate ban on nuclear weapons.

Nuclear-armed states such as the United States have also shown their understanding, to a certain extent, of the NPDI’s efforts.

In the Hiroshima statement, the participating countries also call for the world’s political leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki to witness the grave consequences of such a bombing.

U.S. President Barack Obama advocated for creating a world free from nuclear weapons in a speech in Prague five years ago. To realize progress in nuclear disarmament, it is important for the world’s leaders, including Obama, to understand the reality of being victimized by such a bombing.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, attending the memorial ceremony for her first time, released a comment saying, “This is a day for somber reflection and a renewed commitment to building a more peaceful world.” We hope she will convey the voices raised by people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Obama and other leaders in the United States.

Next spring in New York, there will be a Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. This important international conference is held every five years to review the current state of affairs of nuclear weapons and to discuss the reduction and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons.

We hope there will be an acceleration in the discussion on nuclear disarmament at the 2015 review conference, with participating countries taking the spirit of the Hiroshima statement to heart.

It is important for Japan, in solidarity with other NPDI member countries, to tenaciously call for a ban on nuclear tests and on the reduction of nuclear weapons.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 7, 2014)

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