Hiroshima Prefecture releases “Hiroshima Report” on nuclear arms reduction

by Kenichiro Nozaki, Staff Writer

On April 11, the Hiroshima prefectural government released the “Hiroshima Report,” in which the prefecture graded the efforts being made by 19 countries, including the nuclear weapon states, with regard to nuclear arms reduction. It is unusual for a local government to evaluate the actions of national governments, and the prefecture’s “score card” was produced with the aim of advancing the abolition of nuclear arms. Among the five major nuclear powers, the United Kingdom earned the highest score. The lowest marks were given to North Korea, which has conducted a series of nuclear tests, and Pakistan, which is building nuclear reactors for military purposes. Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki commented, “I hope this report will encourage these nations to strengthen their efforts for the elimination of nuclear weapons.”

The countries included in the evaluation were divided into three groups: nations acknowledged as nuclear weapon states by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT); four de facto nuclear weapon states; and ten non-nuclear states. The prefectural government commissioned the Japan Institute of International Affairs, a think tank based in Tokyo, to perform the assessment. Each country was graded based on information released by national governments and research institutions in the following three categories: nuclear arms reduction, nuclear non-proliferation, and safety control of nuclear materials.

The 28 items used to evaluate nuclear arms reduction efforts include the number of nuclear weapons a nation possesses and whether it has signed (and ratified) the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The five nuclear powers acknowledged by the NPT were scored on a scale of 101 points. The United Kingdom, which has reduced its nuclear arsenal, and plans to further reduce its stockpile of nuclear weapons, topped the list with 35 points. The United States was given 31.5 points, while China, which is moving forward with a nuclear arms buildup, received the lowest score of 21 points.

The four de facto nuclear states were rated on a 98-point scale. North Korea and Pakistan ranked the lowest with 7 points each.

The non-nuclear states were given scores on a 43-point scale. Though it continues to rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella, Japan headed the list with 30 points, reflecting the nation’s orientation toward nuclear disarmament as a result of its A-bomb experience. Syria, which has not signed or ratified the CTBT, was given 15 points. Iran, which has been enriching uranium without reporting its activities to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), got 18 points.

The evaluation of nuclear non-proliferation efforts was based on 17 items, while 16 items were assessed with regard to the safety control of nuclear materials. On their efforts involving nuclear non-proliferation, the U.S., the U.K., and France earned 41 points (out of 44), reflecting their active contributions to the IAEA. North Korea was rated the lowest, both in nuclear non-proliferation (4 out of 58) and safety control of nuclear materials (minus 2 out of 41). The country’s actions were said to “shake the foundation of the NPT regime.”

(Originally published on April 11, 2012)