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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 May 11 - 17  > Obama’s visit to Hiroshima will be historical only if it leads to departure from nuclear deterrence policy
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2016 May 11 - 17 [PEACE]

Obama’s visit to Hiroshima will be historical only if it leads to departure from nuclear deterrence policy

May 12, 2016
U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement about his plan to visit Hiroshima City which experienced the U.S. atomic bombing in 1945 has received a favorable response from Hiroshima citizens.

The Hiroshima City’s Peace Declaration (August 6, 2015) called on the U.S. president and other national leaders to come to the A-bombed cities, hear the Hibakusha with their own ears, and know the reality of the atomic bombings so that they will “be impelled to start discussing a legal framework, including a nuclear weapons convention”.

President Obama and his host Prime Minister Abe Shinzo should respond to Hibakusha’s voices and squarely face people’s call for a nuclear weapons convention.

The Japanese government in December 2013 adopted the National Security Strategy which clearly states that extended deterrence, centering on the U.S. nuclear deterrence, is essential to cope with risks of nuclear attack. In addition, the Abe Cabinet on April 1 this year decided upon a written response that Article 9 of the Constitution does not completely prohibit Japan from possessing or using nuclear weapons.

Regarding the issue of banning nuclear weapons, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at a press conference after the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in April said, “This has to be done, and we’re for it, but it has to be done in a way that works up to the capacity to accept that you, in fact, are not making the world more dangerous because you’ve done away with a level of deterrence for activity, you’re actually making the world safer.” This indicates the U.S. stance sticking to its nuclear deterrence policy and being reluctant to start negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention.

The Japanese and U.S. governments have believed unquestioningly in maintaining the U.S. nuclear umbrella and deterrence capability and they have been turning a deaf ear to the global call to abolish nuclear weapons. Obama’s planned visit to Hiroshima will become historically significant only if it brings about a change in the two governments’ policies.

Past related articles:
> Hibakusha criticize G7 Hiroshima Declaration [April 13, 2016]
> Take effective measures to eliminate nuclear weapons [December 16, 2015]
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