Japanese parliamentarians seek to establish A-bomb museum in Washington, D.C.

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

On June 15, it was learned that “the NPT Promotion Committee,” composed of Japanese parliamentarians from various parties, is pursuing the idea of establishing, in Washington, D.C., a monument to express the hope of eliminating nuclear weapons as well as a permanent museum to convey the consequences of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The committee aims to unveil the monument at the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference next spring and open the museum sometime next year.

Amid the growing momentum for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the committee seeks to impart, in the U.S. capital, the horrific reality wrought by the nuclear weapons and strengthen the determination of the international community to pursue nuclear abolition.

The monument will be created on the theme of “prayers for nuclear abolition.” Concerning the museum, the plan involves introducing research data and documents regarding the damage caused by radiation as well as A-bomb artifacts. Full details regarding the museum, including its size, will be worked out after the site for the facility has been determined. The committee will also form an organization to raise money for the project and oversee its implementation.

In 1995, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum planned to hold an A-bomb exhibition in conjunction with an exhibition featuring the Enola Gay. But the museum was unable to hold the A-bomb exhibition due to furious opposition from U.S. veterans and others. Members of the NPT Promotion Committee are thinking of visiting Washington, D.C. soon after the next election of Japan’s House of Representatives and calling for the cooperation of both Republican and Democratic senators and congressmen who are supporters of nuclear abolition.

The NPT Promotion Committee, set up this past March, consists of six members, including two from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Democratic Party of Japan, respectively, and one each from the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party. Minoru Terada, an LDP member from Hiroshima’s fifth constituency and one of the committee’s co-chairs, said, “In our pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons, establishing the monument and museum in the U.S., the nation which dropped the atomic bombs, would be highly significant. We will do our utmost to fulfill this plan.”

(Originally published on June 16, 2009)