Message to Hiroshima Summit: Kosuke Motani, chief senior economist at Japan Research Institute, calls for summit to cut “cycle of animosity”

by Yoko Yamamoto, Staff Writer

Kosuke Motani, 58, chief senior economist at the Japan Research Institute who is from Shunan City in Yamaguchi Prefecture, has continued to advocate the idea of rural capitalism, in pursuit of sustainable regional development through local circulation of resources. Mr. Motani’s creed includes the aim of paying visits to rural sites with a consciousness that is focused on reality. He asserts that the summit meeting of the G7 (attended by Group of Seven industrialized nations), scheduled to be held in Hiroshima in May, represents an opportunity to increase the number of people across the world who visit Hiroshima firsthand and learn about the reality of atomic bombing and the city’s recovery, enabling them to commit to putting a halt to cycles of destruction and revenge.


Despite the city’s name recognition, the number of people that actually visit Hiroshima is not all that high. Many still have the notion that nuclear weapons are simply an extension of conventional weapons. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if someone were to, at some point in time, begin trying to claim online that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima is fake news.

To counter that spurious claim, I hope that more people visit Hiroshima and come to grips with the devastation caused by the atomic bombing, which was truly an unforgivable act for humanity, and the city as it stands today following its recovery. The A-bombed cities have called for the elimination of nuclear weapons, emphasizing that such attacks should never be repeated for any reason because their inhabitants understood all too well the reality of nuclear devastation. By doing so, they have interrupted the cycle of animosity by which destruction and revenge are repeated. The rest of the world must learn from that mindset.

Amid drastic changes in the international situation, Mr. Motani has criticized the nuclear deterrence theory and advocates the significance of Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution.

Some people have advocated nuclear deterrence and argue that Russia would not have attacked Ukraine had that country still been in possession of nuclear weapons. In my opinion, that argument is an emotionally charged rationalization. It is underpinned by the mindset as observed when a child desires an intimidating toy belt such as that worn by Masked Rider (a popular live-action television hero in Japan) because their friend down the road has one.

The possession of nuclear weapons requires a huge amount of capital investment and strict management. If more nations in the world were to take possession of nuclear arms, it would significantly increase the possibility that the weapons are not managed properly and fall into the hands of terrorists. The terrorists could then use such weapons, something that would trigger the cycle of animosity through the need for revenge. It’s a crazy world. As the economic superpower it is and the only A-bombed nation in the world, Japan should serve as a stabilizing global force by maintaining its consistent stance of not accepting the possession or first-use of nuclear weapons.

Concerning its movement in the direction of strengthening its defense capabilities, Mr. Motani argues that Japan should squarely face its economic structure marked by reliance on other nations, such as the U.S., China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, for its current account surplus.

For example, if a crisis were ever to occur in Taiwan, the Japanese economy could stall, preventing the country from buying food or energy. As Japan is not self-sufficient in terms of food and energy, such a situation cannot be resolved simply with national defense. Japan would be the loser in any such crisis. As a defeated country in World War II and the only Asian G7 nation, Japan must do its utmost to prevent such crises from ever occurring.

The Hiroshima Summit is expected to be crucially important for Japan by which its diplomatic skills will be tested.

Hiroshima is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, as it is vibrant and replete with nature—mountains, seas, and rivers. Once people visit the city and come to understand the tragic reality of the atomic bombing, visitors are sure to be moved by its beautifully restored appearance today. I truly hope during the Hiroshima Summit that the national government of this A-bombed nation of Japan, which has successfully stopped the cycle of animosity under its democratic system of government, can exercise leadership to spread awareness that nuclear deterrence has limits.

Kosuke Motani
Born in Shunan City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, in 1964, Kosuke Motani graduated from the University of Tokyo Faculty of Law and later the Columbia University Business School, in the United States. In 1988, he joined the Japan Development Bank (now the Development Bank of Japan) and served in such positions as counselor at the bank’s regional promotion department, and others, before assuming his current post starting in 2012. Mr. Motani is known as regional economist who focuses on local promotion, tourism development, and population issues. He has authored such publications as Defure no shotai (in English, ‘Truth about deflation’) and Satoyama shihon shugi (‘Rural capitalism’).

(Originally published on January 7, 2023)