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People of Hiroshima express anger over U.S. nuclear test

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

When the United States announced on October 30 that it had conducted a new type of nuclear test sometime between July and September to check the performance of its nuclear arsenal, the survivors and citizens of Hiroshima were united in their anger and disappointment. “Why is our wish for nuclear abolition being ignored?”

Kazuo Okoshi, 73, secretary-general of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations, chaired by Kazushi Kaneko, declared, “It’s exasperating. The United States is turning its back on the international community, which is calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.” He was referring to the latest joint statement on the humanitarian impact and non-use of nuclear weapons, released on October 21. One of the supporters of the joint statement is Japan, the first time it has backed a statement of this kind.

Tomoyuki Mimaki, 71, secretary-general of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations, chaired by Sunao Tsuboi, also responded bitterly, saying, “The United States has thrown cold water on the growing momentum for abolition. Why does the United States, which calls itself a world leader, ignore the voices of others?”

The Japanese government is also being criticized for not protesting U.S. actions in carrying out these tests. Haruko Moritaki, 74, co-chair of the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, a citizens’ group, said, “Allied countries that rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella are complicit in developing nuclear weapons. Japan, which suffered the atomic bombings, must stand at the forefront of criticizing such tests.”

Kazumi Mizumoto, vice president of the Hiroshima Peace Institute at Hiroshima City University and an expert on nuclear disarmament, said, “The United States has been conducting dozens of different tests simultaneously without feeling any misgivings over its actions because such tests don’t produce a nuclear explosion.” He added that the international community must not only protest continued testing, it must also press the United States to change its entire nuclear strategy.

(Originally published on October 31, 2013)

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