Hiroshima prefectural government to release “score card” on nuclear disarmament

by Takuya Murata, Staff Writer

On March 11, Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki revealed his intention to present a “score card” in which the prefectural government grades the efforts related to nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation by a specified list of nations. The governor said the prefecture will focus on 19 countries, including nuclear weapon states, de facto nuclear weapon states, and nations suspected of developing nuclear weapons, in its score card for fiscal 2012, now being compiled.

Mr. Yuzaki discussed this initiative at a meeting of the Budgetary Special Committee, established by the Hiroshima Prefectural Assembly. “We have been carrying out an objective assessment of the actions taken by each nation,” the governor explained. “We intend to post our report online in April, at the Hiroshima Prefecture website, to disseminate this information in and out of Japan.”

The 19 countries under focus include: the United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, and China--nations acknowledged as nuclear weapon states by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT); North Korea, which has willfully been conducting nuclear tests; India and Pakistan, nuclear powers that have not joined the NPT; Israel, a de facto nuclear weapon state; Iran and Syria, suspected of developing nuclear weapons; and eight nations that play important roles in advancing the abolition of nuclear weapons, such as Japan, Australia, and Sweden.

There are as many as 60 items in the assessment, including the number of nuclear weapons held and efforts at reduction; membership, or non-membership, in the NPT; and the management of radioactive materials emitted from the production of nuclear energy. The Japan Institute of International Affairs, a think tank located in Tokyo that has been commissioned by the prefectural government, is devising a draft of the score card. The institute is reportedly in the process of receiving feedback from five researchers, from Japan and overseas, as to whether the draft is suitable.

Once the draft of the report is in the prefecture’s hands, final adjustments will be made by the governor, who has been leading this effort. After that, the results will be released. This score card is part of the prefecture’s “Hiroshima for Global Peace” plan so that the A-bombed site can play a more active role in advancing the abolition of nuclear weapons. The prefecture is planning to develop the score card further in fiscal 2013 by adding to the number of nations and items for evaluation.

(Originally published on March 12, 2013)