Remembering the Atomic Bombs and Moving Forward

Hiroshima, today, August 6, and Nagasaki, on August 9, will commemorate the 65th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb. It is a day to prevent a repeat of the ravages of the atomic bomb by renewing the pledge to peace.

U.S. Ambassador John Roos is the first American representative to attend Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Ceremony. Like America, the long absent Britain will also attend for the first time this year.

The U.N. Secretary General will also be participating for the first time. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will give an introduction at the ceremony and appeal for the realization of a world without nuclear weapons.

This will become a strong message to the world from the bombed city.

Last year, in April, during his speech in Prague, President Obama, stated that “As a nuclear power, as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act.”

Ambassador Roos’s participation in the ceremony can also be seen as a strong statement of the intent of the Obama administration’s stance on nuclear disarmament.

Japan and America are bound by the bond of alliance; however, in the consciousness of both countries, there remains a distance regarding the issue of dropping the A-Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The U.S. view that using the atomic bomb avoided a land invasion and saved the lives of many American soldiers remains firmly rooted.

Ambassador Roos’s reason for attending, the U.S. government explained, is “to express respect for all the victims of the Second World War.” It is not to apologize for the dropping of the A-bomb.

However, the ambassador’s exemplary attendance can be regarded as a meaningful step in reconciling the gap between Japan and America regarding the dropping of the A-bomb.

In the future, let’s hope for a visit from President Obama himself to the bombing site.

This April, both America and Russia signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), and both will certainly continue the trend towards nuclear disarmament.

On the other hand, North Korea is continuing their nuclear development. If we look at the reality of North Korea’s nuclear armament and China’s growth into a military superpower, then America’s “nuclear umbrella” is essential to Japan.

Hiroshima’s mayor Akiba Tadatoshi’s peace declaration at the ceremony requested withdrawal from the “nuclear umbrella” and the legalization of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles by the Japanese government. Whether it is an argument based upon reality or not is difficult to say.

We must reexamine, first, the docking and passing of nuclear-powered warships in permitting America’s nuclear deterrent forces to function and, second, the “Japan shall not permit the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japanese territory” clause of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles.

Even though the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we have no choice but to rely on the “nuclear umbrella.” Having done this, we are faced with this deep dilemma: How can we appeal to the world for nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation? It is a huge task imposed upon Japan.

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