Hiroshima : 70 Years After the A-bombing

Hiroshima Asks: Toward the 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing: Obama’s vow to pursue nuclear abolition lacks substance

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

Accelerate modernization of nuclear capability In December 2008, about one month before Barack Obama’s inauguration as president of the United States, I visited a soybean field covered with snow on the outskirts of Kansas City, Missouri. Visiting the same site last year, I found that the scene had changed dramatically.

There was a brand-new building, with a modern design. “It’s a factory for nuclear warheads,” said Ann Sullentrop, 63, a local peace activist. Expressing her anger, she said, “I kept my faint hopes alive that President Obama might stop the construction of the plant.” She served as my guide around the area in 2008 and again last year.

The plant is tasked with the maintenance and management of a portion of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. At a cost of 687 million dollars to build, the plant procures the components used in these weapons. Naturally, it is expected to be in operation for several decades to come.

But this plant is only the tip of the iceberg. The Obama administration’s true nuclear policy can be seen in many other developments, including the fact that the United States has been pouring massive amounts of money into accelerating the modernization of its nuclear arsenal and nuclear infrastructure. Civilians and experts who are concerned about nuclear disarmament have been voicing criticism and disappointment.

Six years ago, President Obama delivered a speech to a large crowd in Prague, the Czech Republic, and vowed to seek a world without nuclear weapons. But the nuclear superpower has turned its back on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the international community, and has not changed its basic attitude toward nuclear arms.

(Originally published on February 14, 2015)