Protests take place in A-bombed Hiroshima against U.S. subcritical nuclear test

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

On October 11, in response to the revelation that the United States conducted a subcritical nuclear experiment last December, people in the A-bombed city of Hiroshima took part in protests against the Trump administration, including a sit-in and letters of protest sent by local governments. The Peace Watch Tower, located in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in Naka Ward, was also reset. The tower’s clock displays the number of days since the last nuclear test was conducted.

In front of the Cenotaph of the A-bomb Victims in the Peace Memorial Park, a sit-in was staged by the Hiroshima Peace Liaison Conference for Nuclear Abolition, which is comprised of 12 groups including the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organization (Hiroshima Prefectural Hidankyo, chaired by Sunao Tsuboi) and the Hiroshima Local of Japanese Trade Union Confederation. Amid light rain, 88 people took part in the sit-in, holding a long banner that read “We strongly oppose all nuclear tests.” Tomoyuki Mimaki, 76, the vice chair of Hiroshima Prefectural Hidankyo, said angrily, “Doesn’t President Trump care what happens in the world? I’m very concerned that more victims of a nuclear disaster will be produced again somewhere.”

On the first floor of the museum’s East Building, the number display of the clock, which had previously indicated “403,” was changed to “302”, the number of days since December 13 of last year, the date of the nuclear test carried out by the U.S. government. To date, the clock has been reset 25 times, and this was the first time since North Korea performed a nuclear test on September 3, 2017. Kenji Shiga, the museum director, changed the display and commented, “The only thing we can do as a museum is to continue speaking out about what would happen if a nuclear weapon is ever used.”

In a letter of protest addressed to U.S. President Donald Trump, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui called for all nuclear tests scheduled in the future to be cancelled, writing that the test was an unacceptable act that goes against the wishes of the world’s citizens, including the A-bomb survivors who are seeking the abolition of nuclear weapons. Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki also wrote a letter to Mr. Trump, which said that Mr. Yuzaki would like him to understand the reality of utter destruction caused by a nuclear weapon and move toward eliminating nuclear arms, asking the president to pay a visit to Hiroshima. Other public bodies, such as Mayors for Peace and the Hiroshima City Council, sent letters of protest, too.

(Originally published on October 12, 2018)