Ryo Oshiba set to be next president of the Hiroshima Peace Institute

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

In April, Ryo Oshiba will become the next president of the Hiroshima Peace Institute at Hiroshima City University, located in Asaminami Ward, and the head of the Graduate School of Peace Studies, which will open in 2020. He says, “Because of my specialty in international relations, I have long wanted to come to Hiroshima to pursue my research and develop my ideas on peace studies and international politics in the A-bombed city.” Mr. Oshiba is currently a professor of Economics and Communication in the School of International Politics at Aoyama Gakuin University. He gladly accepted the invitation from Hiroshima City University to serve as the next president of the Hiroshima Peace Institute.

Mr. Oshiba was involved in establishing the Hiroshima Peace Contribution Plan, which Hiroshima Prefecture compiled in 2003. He has paid frequent visits to Hiroshima and spent time at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Looking closely at photos of children who died in the atomic bombing, a charred tricycle, and other artifacts left behind by the A-bomb victims, he reflected on the reason for his interest in international relations. The conviction that nuclear weapons are the ultimate form of inhumanity, and that the catastrophic destruction caused by the atomic bomb must never be permitted to happen again, these thoughts became seared in his mind.

Since the time he was in junior high school, he has admired the late Noboru Iwamura, a doctor who was an exemplary figure in the field. Dr. Iwamura worked in Nepal and devoted himself to the treatment of leukemia and literacy education. Eventually, Mr. Oshiba decided to get involved in activities that could make contributions to the international community. As a university student, he became increasingly interested in assistance for developing nations, programs that address poverty, and the broader question of peace. He obtained his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University in the United States, then taught at Hitotsubashi University and also served as a councilor of the Japan Association of International Relations.

His main area of research is global governance, which puts priority on the roles of the United Nations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and groups and individuals in solving international challenges. He views the contribution made by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), in its efforts to realize the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations, as an epoch-making achievement following the adoption of the Landmine Ban Treaty.

While Mr. Oshiba believes that nuclear weapons should be abolished, as he assesses current conditions in the world, he says that the idea that nuclear weapons are still needed for deterrence is a deeply-rooted view. “The theory of deterrence, which rests on the idea that nuclear weapons could be used, would never be accepted in Hiroshima because it goes against the moral convictions held by the people of this city,” he said. “In Hiroshima, I would like to develop new ideas that can undermine the theory of nuclear deterrence and lead to the total abolition of nuclear weapons.”

Mr. Oshiba lives with his wife. His son and daughter are already adults and are on their own. He goes to church every weekend and enjoys growing organic vegetables in his garden. He is originally from Hyogo Prefecture.

(Originally published on January 9, 2019)