New U.S. nuclear strategy prompts angry reaction from A-bomb survivors

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

“This goes against the global trend.” “This is unacceptable.” On February 3, A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima expressed frustration and anger over the new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), the U.S. nuclear strategy put forward by the Trump administration. The new nuclear policy, which will seek to expand the role of nuclear arms, veers sharply from the course set by the previous administration of President Barack Obama, who had called for the goal of creating “a world without nuclear weapons.”

Letting out a deep sigh of frustration and anger, Toshiyuki Mimaki, 75, the vice chair of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations (Hiroshima Hidankyo, chaired by Sunao Tsuboi), said, “All the A-bomb survivors must be shocked. The Nuclear Posture Review for this year is absolutely appalling.”

The new NPR negates the “no first use” of nuclear weapons, a policy that Mr. Obama is said to have temporarily considered after his visit to Hiroshima. Kazumi Mizumoto, the vice president of the Hiroshima Peace Institute at Hiroshima City University and an expert on nuclear disarmament, said, “The new NPR seems to embrace nuclear weapons and clearly contradicts the important policies and measures that nuclear experts and citizens all over the world have sought to adopt for promoting nuclear disarmament.” Last year, the international community adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and a non-governmental organization, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), received the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts. The nuclear superpowers, though, are acting counter to the global trend of working toward the eradication of nuclear weapons.

Kazuo Okoshi, 77, the secretary general of the other Hiroshima Hidankyo (chaired by Kunihiko Sakuma), said angrily, “We cannot tolerate the stance of the United States, continuously threatening to make use of nuclear weapons rather than making an effort to work with other nations to advance the elimination of nuclear arms.”

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui commented that his deep hope is for the United States to fully understand the terrifying destruction of Hiroshima that was caused by the atomic bomb, as well as the experiences and sufferings of the A-bomb survivors, and dedicate themselves to achieving a world without nuclear weapons. Mr. Matsui also urged President Donald Trump to visit the A-bombed cities.

The A-bomb survivors also directed criticism at the Japanese government, which has welcomed the NPR from the point of view of nuclear deterrence. Haruko Moritaki, 78, the co-chair of the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (HANWA), said, “As the only A-bombed country, the Japanese government should urge the United States to review its policy. If Japan continues to defer to the United States, it will end up being involved in the crisis of nuclear war.” Ms. Moritaki hopes that awareness among the Japanese public will grow and that citizens will strongly urge the Japanese government to change its policy.

(Originally published on February 4, 2018)