The day of Hiroshima on August 6
Between a rock and a hard place on N-arms
The Yomiuri Shimbun
On Monday, Hiroshima observes the 62nd anniversary of the day it was devastated by an atomic bomb. Nagasaki will do likewise on Thursday.
The two cities have held a memorial service on these days every year to pass on the tragedy of the victims to future generations and to exhort the eradication of nuclear weapons that disregard the law of humanity. Despite the earnest calls of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world is still besieged by nuclear fears.
North Korea, which defied international calls for restraint and tested a nuclear device in October, undoubtedly poses the biggest threat to Japan. Six-party talks aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions have yet to present a clear path for the reclusive state to follow for that end.
Suspicions also have increased over Iran’s nuclear development.
On June 30, then Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma said the atomic bombings were “something that couldn’t be helped.” His remark touched off fierce criticism as, many said, it appeared to justify dropping the atomic bombs on the two cities. However, the rebukes were mostly emotional, and did not provoke much discussion over Japan’s complicated situation when it comes to nuclear issues.
Japan cannot possibly condone the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that claimed more than 200,000 innocent lives.
Two birds with one stone
The dominant view in the United States, on the other hand, says the atomic bombings were necessary for bringing an early end to World War II, averting U.S. military operations to invade the Japanese main islands and thereby saving the lives of many U.S. soldiers.
Although the United States was well aware that Japan had almost completely lost the capability to continue fighting the war, Washington used the horrific nuclear weapons without giving any prior warning.
Dropping the atomic bombings had the purpose of deterring the Soviet Union from joining the war against Japan. Testimonies given in the United States substantiate this.
During debates among party leaders just before campaigning for the House of Councillors election kicked off last month, Democratic Party of Japan leader Ichiro Ozawa urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to demand the United States apologize for the atomic bombings.
However, Abe responded, “It’s also true that Japan needs the [U.S.] nuclear deterrent” to counter North Korea’s nuclear threat.
The dropping of the atomic bombs can never be justified. On the other hand, the nation has no option but to depend on the U.S. nuclear deterrent for our national security. Japan has been tormented by this dilemma since the end of the war.
In 1965, Japan’s antinuclear movement split into two groups–the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo) aligned with the Japanese Communist Party, and the Japan Congress against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikin) affiliated with the former Japan Socialist Party.
The breakup was mainly caused by friction between the JCP and JSP, with the former asserting that nuclear weapons possessed by socialist nations were for defensive purposes, and the latter denouncing nuclear weapons held by any state.
Japanese antinuclear activists have unbendingly called for the eradication of nuclear weapons since the years of U.S.-Soviet confrontation until today, when Japan is staring down the barrel of the North Korean nuclear threat. These activists have never squarely come to grips with this dilemma.
In a peace declaration to be made Monday, Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba is expected to strongly reject the “outdated, mistaken policies” of the United States. However, Akiba is not expected to directly mention the North Korean nuclear program in the declaration.
How can we make our calls for the eradication of nuclear weapons more compelling? We must rise up to this challenge.
(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 6, 2007)
(Aug. 6, 2007)
Hiroshima Mayor AKIBA, Tadatoshi is known as a leftist with strong sense of intimacy in China and Chosun (Korea) . He was a member of the former Japan Socialist Party.
There is rumor that he is a descendant of Chosunese (Korean) who acquired a Japanese nationality in the Japan-Chosun (Korea) consolidation age. I do not understand whether it is true.