Foreign ministers of 12 non-nuclear countries issued a call in Hiroshima April 12 for countries with nuclear weapons to abandon their nuclear arsenals. They also encouraged the leaders of countries with nuclear weapons to visit the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, an appeal made at the end of a two-day conference of the Ministerial Meeting of the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI).
The NPDI conference was the first gathering of leaders dedicated to nuclear disarmament to be held in Hiroshima, which – like Nagasaki – was leveled by an atomic bomb at the tail end of the Second World War in 1945. “This is an opportunity to issue a strong message from Hiroshima,” Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said. Very notable was the attendance of Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of the U.S. State Department for arms control and international security. Gottemoeller is the first official from a nuclear power to participate in an NPDI ministerial meeting. During the meeting, the ministers from member nations of the NPDI continued to iron out differences over the process to use in achieving the final goal of a zero-nuclear-weapon world.
It was Japan and Australia who first initiated the formation of the NPDI in 2010, with a shared goal to reduce risks of nuclear proliferation. After the founding of the initiative another 10 countries came on board – including Canada, Chile, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, the Philippines, Poland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The NPDI has already served as mediator between nuclear powers and non-nuclear powers who are at loggerheads, as well as the ongoing effort in campaigning towards “zero nuclear weapons”. Frans Timmermans, the foreign minister from the Netherlands, said that the issue of nuclear weapons is a problem of humanity, rather than a geopolitical and military problem. Kishida, who himself hails from Hiroshima, said that he will be highlighting the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons in order to create a consensus among the global community in their opposition to nuclear arms.