Austria’s parliament speaker visits Hiroshima, hopes for global ratification of nuclear weapons ban treaty

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

Reinhard Todt, 69, the president of the Federal Council of Austria, paid his first visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, in Naka Ward, on May 17. Austria is one of the leading supporters of the nuclear weapons ban treaty that was adopted by the United Nations last year, and it ratified the treaty this month. Mr. Todt spoke about the inhumane consequences of the atomic bombing and insisted that all nations should ratify the treaty to realize the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Guided by Kenji Shiga, the director of the Peace Memorial Museum, Mr. Todt toured the museum and saw a computer graphics display that depicts the utter devastation to the city of Hiroshima as a result of the U.S. A-bomb attack. He also looked closely at a tricycle left behind by a small victim of the bombing. He then laid flowers at the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims, in the park, and observed the A-bomb Dome from the opposite bank of the river.

Referring to some photos in the museum that show the horrific conditions suffered by the people of Hiroshima on the day of the atomic bombing, he emphasized the deep shock that he felt and expressed strong hope that the number of countries ratifying the nuclear weapons ban treaty will increase more.

Mr. Todt arrived in Japan on May 15 at the invitation of Japan’s House of Councillors, and his visit to Hiroshima was arranged at his request.

(Originally published on May 18, 2018)