Trump tweets U.S. should expand nuclear capability, stirring anger in Hiroshima

by Gosuke Nagahisa, Staff Writer

Donald Trump has tweeted that the United States should expand its nuclear capability, stirring anger among A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima. On December 23, some survivors said that the Twitter post made by the president-elect of the United States runs counter to the global trend toward the elimination of nuclear weapons. On December 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to strengthen his nation’s nuclear arsenal as well. There is now growing concern among the people of Hiroshima that this exchange of provocative words could lead to another nuclear arms race.

“I don’t understand. If other countries follow suit, it would be another escalation of the nuclear arms race,” said Toshiyuki Mimaki, 74, the vice chair of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations (Hiroshima Hidankyo, chaired by Sunao Tsuboi). A-bomb survivors have had high hopes for the negotiations to pursue a nuclear ban treaty, which are expected to begin at the United Nations in March of next year. Mr. Mimaki said that such remarks could “throw a monkey wrench in the works. They must be extremely careful about their language and their actions.”

During the Republican nominating contest, Mr. Trump reportedly said that Japan may need to arm itself with nuclear weapons. Many feel uneasy about his view on nuclear policy. His Twitter post is “preposterous when the world is moving toward nuclear disarmament,” said Kunihiko Sakuma, the chair of the other Hiroshima Hidankyo. He added that tweeting itself is “imprudent, and even insulting.”

Kazumi Mizumoto, the vice president of the Hiroshima Peace Institute at Hiroshima City University and an expert on nuclear disarmament, said, “His remark is dangerous in that it can be interpreted that U.S. national interests should be enhanced by strengthening its nuclear capability. If he had Russia in mind, this is an anachronistic idea that could drag the world into another cold war.”

(Originally published on December 24, 2016)