Belgian deputy prime minister visits Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

Didier Reynders, Belgium’s deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, located in Naka Ward, for the first time on October 31. After learning about the devastating consequences of the atomic bombing, Mr. Reynders said that he would promote the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT, still pending), a treaty that bans all types of nuclear tests that involve a nuclear explosion.

At the Peace Memorial Museum, Mr. Reynders watched a computer graphics display that depicts the devastated city of Hiroshima in the aftermath of the atomic bombing. He wrote in the museum guest book: “Belgium will strive firmly to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.” After listening to the A-bomb experience of a survivor, he laid a flower wreath at the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims.

In an interview he then gave to the media, Mr. Reynders said, with regard to the denuclearization of North Korea, that it is absolutely necessary to verify that Pyongyang has really halted all nuclear testing, and he emphasized the importance of the CTBT which stipulates on-site inspections. As the treaty has not yet been ratified by North Korea, the United States, China and other nuclear weapon states, Mr. Reynders expressed his intention to urge these countries to ratify the treaty.

Belgium will become a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council for two years starting in 2019. Mr. Reynders arrived in Japan on October 29 for talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

(Originally published on November 1, 2018)