Hiroshima mayor, other political leaders, protest new type of U.S. nuclear test

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

After learning that the United States conducted a new type of nuclear test last November and again in March of this year, a number of political leaders in Hiroshima Prefecture, including Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, sent letters of protest on May 23 to U.S. President Barack Obama, Ambassador to Japan John Roos, and others.

On May 24, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum reset the “Peace Watch Tower,” which displays the number of days since the world’s last nuclear test, for the first time since October 13, 2010 when the subcritical test conducted by the United States on September 15 was made public.

In his letter, Mayor Matsui was sharply critical of the nuclear tests, saying, “These tests have betrayed the hopes of the hibakusha and the millions of others who seek a nuclear-weapon-free world.” He stressed, “Though these tests did not involve nuclear explosions, they can be understood as evidence that the U.S. intends to maintain its nuclear stockpile,” and urged the United States to seek the realization of a world free from nuclear weapons. This was the 596th letter sent by mayors of Hiroshima to protest nuclear tests.

Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki also sent a letter of protest addressed to President Obama via the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. The governor said that nuclear tests cause great disappointment and distrust among the people of the world who wish for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Other leaders of Hiroshima also criticized the nuclear tests. Fukuyama Mayor Akira Hada stated that the nuclear tests ignored the wish of the people for the realization of world peace. Higashihiroshima Mayor Yoshio Kurata said that the tests were a serious betrayal of the international community. Hatsukaichi Mayor Katsuhiro Shinno criticized the tests as outrageous acts that run counter to the global trend toward nuclear disarmament and abolition. Onomichi Mayor Yuko Hiratani and Mihara Mayor Yasuyuki Goto, too, sent letters of protest, calling for a moratorium on all nuclear tests.

(Originally published on May 24, 2011)