On decision to select Hiroshima as host of G7 summit: Leaders of ruling, opposition parties welcome result, make demands—One step toward world without nuclear weapons but “extended deterrence” problematic

by Masaharu Nakagawa, Yohei Yamamoto and Junya Kuchimoto, Staff Writers

At a press conference on May 24, the day after Hiroshima was selected to serve as the host city for the summit meeting of the G7 (attended by the Group of Seven industrialized nations) to be held in 2023, leaders of Japan’s national ruling and opposition parties offered their assessment of, and made demands regarding, the decision.

Toshimitsu Motegi, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, welcomed the decision by Japan Prime Minister Fumiko Kishida to hold the summit in the A-bombed city of Hiroshima for the first time. Mr. Kishida serves as president of the LDP and represents Hiroshima Prefecture’s District No. 1. “A world without nuclear weapons is the prime minister’s goal. It is significant that the summit will be held in Hiroshima as a symbol of that objective. The leaders of the G7 nations will gather in Hiroshima for what will be the first step in renewing their commitment,” said Mr. Motegi.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, chief representative of Komeito, one of the ruling coalition parties, had been proposing to the prime minister that the meeting be held in Hiroshima. The group of G7 nations includes three nuclear weapons states—the United States, Britain, and France. With that in mind, Mr. Yamaguchi explained his hope that “a consensus can be formed for the countries to play a role toward achieving a world without nuclear weapons.”

Leaders of opposition parties made numerous requests of the prime minister. Chinami Nishimura, secretary-general of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, welcomed the decision to hold the meeting in Hiroshima. She said, however, “I will continue calling on the prime minister to participate as an observer” in the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), scheduled for June this year. Yuichiro Tamaki, leader of the Democratic Party for the People, called for “maintaining and enhancing realistic deterrence” but also stressed that the prime minister “should take on the role of conveying the reality of the atomic bombing from Hiroshima.”

Kazuo Shii, leader of the Japanese Communist Party, viewed as problematic the fact that the leaders of Japan and the United States are planning to strengthen what is known as the policy of “extended deterrence,” in which the United States would be involved in the defense of Japan with its nuclear and conventional military capabilities. In a continuation of his criticism, Mr. Shii said, “It is inconsistent to say that the summit held in Hiroshima will contribute to nuclear disarmament while, at the same time, the leaders call for enhancing the nuclear deterrence framework.”

(Originally published on May 25, 2022)