Hiroshima mayor calls nuclear deterrence ‘folly’ as city marks 78th anniversary of atomic bombing

by Madison Thomas
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As the city of Hiroshima marked the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombing, officials expressed strong criticism over the rising support for nuclear weapons. They emphasized the recent unease caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine and escalating tensions in Korea.

The event was particularly significant, coming two months after Hiroshima hosted a G7 summit where leaders visited the city’s peace park and museum commemorating the victims of the world’s first atomic attack. Despite issuing a joint statement advocating the continued non-use of nuclear arms, the G7 leaders also acknowledged the need for such weapons for defense and deterrence.

Hiroshima’s Mayor, Kazumi Matsui, spoke out against this stance in his peace address, urging global leaders to recognize the flawed logic behind nuclear deterrence theory. He called for immediate, concrete actions to move away from the perilous current state towards a more ideal world.

Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzai also questioned the growing support for bolstered nuclear deterrence, especially in Japan. He argued that those who consider nuclear weapons essential for maintaining peace are merely hindering the progress towards disarmament.

Reminding of the tragic history, the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, resulting in the death of 210,000 people and leading to Japan’s surrender in World War II.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has emphasized the G7’s commitment to nuclear disarmament but has been criticized for not signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Though he has vowed to work for disarmament, critics argue that his promises are empty, considering Japan’s reliance on the U.S. nuclear shield and its military expansion.

The ongoing security collaboration between Japan, the United States, and South Korea, driven by the assertiveness of China and North Korea’s nuclear threats, has only complicated the path to a nuclear-free world. Kishida acknowledged the growing challenges but stressed the importance of regaining momentum towards disarmament.

The ceremony included a moment of silence at the exact time the bomb was dropped, accompanied by the release of white doves as symbols of peace.

Many survivors of the bombings continue to suffer from lasting injuries and illnesses, even facing discrimination within Japan. While some survivors receive government support, others, including victims of the “black rain,” remain without aid. The mayor appealed to Kishida’s government for increased support and responsiveness to their needs.

The aging survivors, known as hibakusha, are tirelessly advocating for a nuclear arms ban and encouraging younger generations to join the movement. A youth-led group, including Hiroshima residents, is pushing for Japan’s government to sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty by 2030.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hiroshima

What was the Hiroshima Mayor’s stance on nuclear deterrence during the 78th anniversary commemoration?

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui rejected the idea of nuclear deterrence in his peace address, calling on global leaders to confront the folly of nuclear deterrence theory. He urged them to take immediate, concrete steps towards an ideal, peaceful world.

Who hosted the recent G7 summit where leaders visited Hiroshima’s peace park and museum?

Hiroshima hosted the recent summit of the Group of 7 major industrial nations. During the summit, G7 leaders visited the city’s peace park and a museum dedicated to the victims of the atomic attack.

What was Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s position regarding the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons?

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has been faulted by survivors for refusing to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Although arguing that the pact is unworkable as no nuclear-armed state has signed it, he has pledged to work for nuclear disarmament.

How many survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings are certified for government medical support?

As of March, 113,649 survivors, whose average age is now 85, are certified as eligible for government medical support.

What are the actions taken by the younger generations in Japan regarding nuclear disarmament?

A group led by young supporters, including those from Hiroshima, is seeking to have Japan’s government sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty by 2030. They are actively encouraging younger generations to join the movement for a nuclear arms ban.

More about Hiroshima

  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
  • Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations
  • Official website of the Group of Seven (G7)
  • Information on Japan’s stance on nuclear weapons and disarmament

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