Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed on Tuesday at the ceremony to mark the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima to realize a nuclear-weapons free world, and to give better support to A-bomb survivors who are still fighting health problems caused by radiation up to this day. His speech at the Peace Memorial Park near Ground Zero also re-iterated Japan’s 3-point stand on nuclear weapons, which declares that the country will not produce, possess or allow nuclear weapons on Japanese territory, in a continued stand to avoid repeating the devastation of atomic warfare.
“We, the Japanese, are the only atomic bombed citizens in war,” Abe declared to an audience of 50,000 at the event. “We bear the responsibility to steadily realize a world without nuclear weapons,” Abe said. Abe’s critics will be quick to point out though that his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), winning a comfortable victory in the recently concluded Upper House election, is made up of politicians who seek to restart Japan’s idled nuclear power plants while continuously marketing Japanese nuclear technology abroad. LDP is also known to be a proponent of changing the nation’s pacifist Constitution.
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui has even expressed his concern over the government’s efforts to partner in a private nuclear project with nuclear-armed India. Matsui says that even if the deal “promotes their economic relationship, it is likely to hinder nuclear weapons abolition,” the very notion that Abe had so strenuously promised. Matsui made this after Japan recently declined to back a statement urging that nuclear weapons never again be used under any circumstances. The statement was forwarded in April at a session in Geneva for the next Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty meeting. Japan has come under pressure because of that decision. Matsui also said that Hiroshima symbolizes the pacifism of the Japanese culture after the war. “Hiroshima is a place that embodies the grand pacifism of the Japanese constitution,” he said. “We urge the national government to rapidly develop and implement a responsible energy policy that places top priority on safety and the livelihoods of the people,” Matsui added, alluding to the Japan’s 50 commercial nuclear power reactors that remain offline following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.