The memorial ceremony on August 6th in Hiroshima, marking the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city, was attended by world leaders for the first time, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, US Ambassador John Roos and representatives of several nuclear states. I was engrossed by the speeches made by Hiroshima Mayor Akiba, Prime Minister Kan and Mr. Ban, feeling overjoyed by the fact that major world leaders had gathered in Hiroshima to renew their pledge to work towards creating a nuclear weapons-free world. Though a small step, it will certainly pave the way towards global nuclear disarmament.
In US President Obama’s landmark speech in Prague last year, he expressed the United States’ moral responsibility in leading the efforts to rid the world of nuclear arms. This commitment was soon followed by the significant Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty review conference in New York in May, where over 100 A-bomb Hibakusha spoke about their experiences focusing people’s attention on nuclear weapons and the devastating effect they could have on civilization. This gave an impetus to this year’s historical event in Hiroshima. The message Hiroshima conveys should not only stay in Japanese minds, but mold the world’s conscious; the use of nuclear weapons is a crime against humanity, threatening to wipe out all mankind. Therefore, the international community must immediately address this issue seriously before it’s too late.
Eradicating nuclear arms altogether is sure to be a daunting task which will take many years, but I believe concerted efforts by the international community to establish a safer world will make a nuclear weapons-free world a reality, even if it takes 10 or 20 years. To realize this goal, world powers should create a mutually supportive climate where each nation does not feel the need to resort to the nuclear option as a deterrent. Thus, all the nuclear states will ratify the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty as well as eliminate their nuclear arsenals and agree to IAEA’s inspections on nuclear energy facilities upon request. The IAEA should also instruct nations in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, making absolute efforts to prevent nuclear materials from being processed into weapons, which could end up in the hands of terrorists. As for Japan, though the recent unstable situation involving North Korea does not allow us to leave the US nuclear umbrella right away, we should strictly adhere to the three non-nuclear principles and become less dependent on US nuclear weapons as our deterrent in the future, until we can feel secure to withdraw from the US nuclear umbrella completely. In the meantime, Japan as the only nation attacked with atomic bombs should retain the momentum gained at the historical ceremony in Hiroshima and continue to carry the torch for a nuclear weapons-free world.
- Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT)
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- nuclear disarmament
- nuclear umbrella
- nuclear state(s)
- non-nuclear state(s)
- three non-nuclear principles
(of not possessing, manufacturing or introducing nuclear weapons)
- nuclear arms