Responses from Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to questions from Chugoku Shimbun in written interview

Question) How many times have you visited Hiroshima? If you've visited Hiroshima before, when did you visit the city? What were your impressions of the city? What do you hope to experience in Hiroshima this time?
Answer) It will be my first time in Hiroshima, and it is a long-awaited first visit. I have always campaigned and worked for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, since my very first years in politics: your city stands as the most powerful reminder of what is at stake in our daily fight against all weapons of mass destruction. Every year, on August 6th, I try to take some time to remember the victims of the first atomic bomb and all that came after it, through the “balance of terror” age. I once had the opportunity to meet with a group of Hibakusha, an experience I will never forget. Their testimony is the most powerful warning against nuclear temptations, and it is vital that we keep the memory of their story alive. I really look forward then to visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial together with the G7 ministers: I am sure it will be a touching and inspiring moment for the whole of us, and for myself in particular.

Q). What hopes do you have for the upcoming foreign ministers' meeting? What would you like to discuss to advance peace in the world? What suggestions would you like to make to overcome obstacles toward realizing this peace?
A) This will be a very intense meeting, in challenging times for global peace and security. The issues on the agenda will span from the threats coming from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to conflicts in the Middle East, from the situation in Ukraine to the tensions in the South China Sea. On each of these files it is vital for world powers to avoid confrontational approaches and look for stronger cooperation instead. Our security today is more and more a collective matter: Japan knows it very well, and our collaboration on security issues could not be in better shape. But I think there is room for a more positive engagement towards global peace from all G7 members. Instability in our regions impacts negatively on the whole of us, on our security and on our economies. In the last several months I have personally witnessed to a very encouraging trend towards increased cooperation – for instance on a political process for ending the war in Syria or on fighting climate change, but also on North Korea. This trend has to be strengthened and deepened – and the G7 is a great platform for improving our mutual understanding and letting our shared interests emerge.

Q) Do you support "a world without nuclear weapons"? What should be done to realize such a world?
A) I see non-proliferation and disarmament as a life-long commitment, one of the greatest tasks for my generation. In the last decades we have finally started to understand that nuclear weapons do not improve our own security: in fact, they weaken it dramatically. This is even more true in an era when the threats to peace are much more fragmented. The deal we reached last year on Iran’s nuclear program put the bases for a turning point in the fight for non-proliferation. And more: with the latest UN Security Council resolution on North Korea, the international community has displayed unprecedented unity on non-proliferation. We need to keep the momentum and move further. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is still far from being fully applied. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty must finally enter into force, and I am personally engaged in this effort through the Group of Eminent Persons who promote and support this goal. The idea of a Middle East free of all weapons of mass destruction should not be considered as just a daydream. We have a duty to aim high: only through courageous leadership and grassroots mobilisation will we achieve a world without nuclear weapons.

Q) Do you have any suggestions as to what the youth of Hiroshima can do to promote peace?
A) Be bold, be courageous. In many of our cultures, we are taught that one has to be very brave to go to war. In fact, it takes much more courage to reach out beyond cultural and political divides, to overcome historic hostilities and work together for peace. Don’t be afraid to be dubbed idealistic: those who tell you “this is impossible” are usually only afraid that you might actually make it happen. And don’t be afraid to engage: don’t wait for adults to make room for you. Don't let them tell "you are the future": you are the present. And your responsibility towards peace does not begin tomorrow, but right now. This is true for all youths around the world – but even more so for the youth of Hiroshima. Your mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers were the ones to re-build Hiroshima so impressively after the end of World War Two. Now it is time to leave your legacy. Always remember your past, and never wait for someone else to write your own future: it is up to you, today belongs to you.