Hiroshima mayor urges U.S. to uphold INF Treaty

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

Following the news that the United States has announced its intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui expressed misgivings about the possible regression of nuclear disarmament during a press conference on October 30. He said that the treaty was a major decision to put an end to the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War and that the treaty should be upheld.

Referring to the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by the United Nations, Mr. Matsui said, “There is a trend toward a world without nuclear weapons, which A-bomb survivors hope to realize. We must do away with the idea of strengthening national defense by threatening other countries with nuclear weapons.” He also said that the United States and Russia have an obligation to advance nuclear disarmament under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and that the nuclear superpowers must “play leading roles in this movement.”

To create an environment where the wish of A-bomb survivors will be better understood, Mr. Matsui hopes to discuss the adoption of an appeal against the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty during a general meeting of Mayors for Peace, which will be held in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture in November.

As for the incident in which two Bulgarian men were questioned by the prefectural police about the graffiti found on a bench and other places in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Mr. Matsui said that he had replied to the official apology from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria. The reply said that the mayor will make further efforts to promote better understanding of the atomic bombing and desire for the abolition of nuclear weapons, said Mr. Matsui. He also said he requested that Bulgarian President Rumen Radev visit Hiroshima.

(Originally published on October 31, 2018)