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2010年8月 7日 (土)


(Mainichi Japan) August 7, 2010
Focus of Hiroshima A-bomb ceremony turning toward nuclear disarmament

The international political presence at this year's ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima was unusually strong, with representatives from 74 nations taking part. The U.N. secretary-general participated in the ceremony for the first time, as did the ambassador of the United States, the country that dropped the bomb on Japan.

Hiroshima seems to increasingly be seen as a symbol of nuclear disarmament rather than one of laying victims' souls to rest. Many atomic bomb survivors welcome this trend, but others are wary of it, saying the ceremony's status as an occasion to remember the victims of the atomic bombing must not be forgotten.

During his attendance at the Aug. 6 ceremony in Hiroshima, U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos maintained a firm expression. He left immediately after the ceremony without an address, only releasing a statement through the U.S. Embassy.

Seiko Ikeda, 77, the deputy director of a Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors' organization, saw significance in Roos' visit.
"It is important for the nuclear powers to realize what happened 65 years ago," she said.

While the ambassador offered no apology over the atomic bombing, Ikeda holds hope for the future.
"If someone bows their head at the memorial for victims, feelings of apology will come naturally," she says.

At the same time, Haruko Moritaki, 71, a representative of the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, points out that some atomic bomb survivors do not welcome the shifting focus of the ceremony.
"The ceremony should be an occasion for remembrance so that such an act will never be repeated, but each year it becomes a place to highlight the world situation regarding the abolition of nuclear weapons, moving the focus away from the repose of victims' souls. Progress on the issue can't be made without down-to-earth political discussion, but there are more than a few atomic bomb survivors who don't like all the hustle and bustle that goes on."

She also questions the reason for the United States' participation in the ceremony.
"It probably isn't to make an oath to eliminate nuclear weapons," she says.

The representatives at this year's Hiroshima ceremony included representatives from 74 nations, including the nuclear powers of the United States, Britain and France, an increase from the 35 countries that participated in 2006.

Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba leads the group Mayors for Peace, which represents about 4,000 cities worldwide. He actively makes visits overseas, which has helped the ceremony take on a more international flavor.

The Japanese government welcomes a recent strengthening in an international movement toward nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation and the fact that Hiroshima and Nagasaki are serving as symbols of this movement. The Aug. 6 ceremony in Hiroshima was the first to be held under the new Democratic Party of Japan administration. In addition to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada also attended the ceremony, becoming the first foreign minister to do so.

In a message at the ceremony, Kan said that Japan, as the only country to have suffered nuclear bomb attacks, has a "moral responsibility to lead the global effort toward a world without nuclear weapons." However, when questioned in a news conference after the ceremony about Akiba's peace declaration calling for the abandonment of the U.S. nuclear umbrella, the prime minister said, "Continued nuclear deterrence is necessary for our country."

Momentum toward abolishing nuclear weapons is increasing, and nuclear disarmament negotiations between the United States and Russia, which together possess 95 percent of the world's nuclear warheads, have resulted in progress in the reduction of strategic nuclear weapons, but reduction of tactical nuclear weapons has not progressed.

If progress on the reduction of U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons is made, then the relative value of the nuclear power of China, which continues to increase its arsenal, could rise. The problem of nuclear weapon development by North Korea and Iran also remains unsolved.

In a news conference on Aug. 6, Okada also commented on Akiba's call to leave the protection of the U.S. nuclear umbrella, saying, "I understand Mr. Akiba's feelings, but the countries that possess nuclear weapons include North Korea, Russia and China, and it is extremely difficult to secure the safety of the people of Japan without the U.S. nuclear umbrella. The nuclear umbrella and nuclear disarmament do not contradict each other."

Commenting on the issue, an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated, "Nuclear disarmament has long been seen as an ideal, but the question of how to actually reduce nuclear weapons is the problem. It is difficult to go from simply reducing nuclear weapons to having zero. We've reaped the benefits of a nuclear umbrella, and no itinerary for achieving a solution has been drawn up. We can only keep an eye on the situation while moving forward."

毎日新聞 2010年8月7日 東京朝刊


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