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2009年4月 8日 (水)

社説:米の核兵器使用 「道義的責任」よくぞ明言

(Mainichi Japan) April 7, 2009
Calling on Obama to join A-bomb memorial ceremonies at Hiroshima, Nagasaki
社説:米の核兵器使用 「道義的責任」よくぞ明言

"As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act," U.S. President Barack Obama pronounced in Prague on Sunday in a speech in which he called for "the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons."

Obama's speech was epoch-making. While the "moral responsibility" to which he refers is not for the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, no other U.S. administration -- at least in recent history -- had defined itself as "the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon," or argued that because of that very experience, the U.S. must become a leader in the global fight to abolish nuclear weapons. President Obama's forthrightness is highly worthy of praise.

In 2007, when then Japanese Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma sparked a controversy by commenting that the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan "couldn't be helped" because they had "brought the war to an end," government officials in the Bush administration at the time expounded their logic that the bombs had prevented the deaths of one million American soldiers. This is the predominant line of thinking in the U.S.

Although the U.S. is quick to condemn Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq for its use of chemical weapons to kill its own citizens, it loathes mentioning the fact that it dropped atomic bombs made from uranium and plutonium on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively. This is because the U.S. would shoulder a heavy responsibility for its past actions if it cannot fully justify the use of weapons of mass destruction against civilians.

Complicated theories about responsibility aside, we have a simple request: that President Obama participate in A-bomb memorial ceremonies at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We believe that the pursuit of "a world without nuclear weapons" begins with remembering those who lost their lives to those very weapons. The theory that "one million American lives were saved" as a result of the atomic bombs can only serve to distort the image of America.

Obama has been pushing for Congress to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and has expressed his intention to hold an international summit on nuclear safety. President Clinton, a fellow Democrat, had also supported the CTBT, but it was rejected by the Republican-led Senate in 1999.

Obama is also said to have plans for the structural reinforcement of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which proposes to limit the possession of nuclear weapons to the five countries that it currently recognizes, and aims to begin negotiating the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), which would prohibit the production of fissile materials. Such efforts are very welcome.

It will not be an easy task to denuclearize nations not recognized in the NPT, such as India and Pakistan, which possess nuclear weapons, and Israel, which is said to have a huge arsenal of nuclear warheads. However, a U.S.-led movement toward nuclear disarmament will no doubt lead to international efforts to block North Korea and Iran from possessing nuclear weapons.

Several former senior U.S. government officials are also calling for global denuclearization. We hope that the world has just one answer to Obama's calls for global change: Yes, we can.

毎日新聞 2009年4月7日 0時09分(最終更新 4月7日 0時37分)


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