What we expect from the US President’s visit to Hiroshima
May 15, 2016
We, members of Pugwash Japan, welcome the courageous decision by the US President Barack Obama to visit Hiroshima on May 27, 2016. This is a long-awaited moment for the survivors of the atomic bombings (hibakushas) as well as citizens, experts and members of civil society.
It is our strong wish that his visit to this city will become a powerful source to revitalize the stalled global efforts towards realizing a world without nuclear weapons. We expect there ought to be following major impacts on nuclear disarmament efforts.
First, his visit creates an important precedent for the leaders of other nuclear weapon states. If they were all to visit and acknowledge the devastating humanitarian consequences caused by a single primitive atomic bomb over 70 years ago, this should spur all of them to renew their efforts to abolish nuclear weapons.
Second, while Hiroshima/Nagasaki were graphic reminders of the awesome power of nuclear weapons, they have not been the only sources of destruction. They must be remembered in the context of humanity’s continuing efforts to overcome its war-ridden history. We need better ways of acknowledging painful past history in order to ensure that it never repeats itself.
Thirdly, we strongly wish that the President’s visit may be an opportunity to query the relevance of nuclear deterrence in relation to 21st century realities. We also hope that it will facilitate efforts to eliminate the fissile material stockpiles owned not only by nuclear-armed states but also by non-nuclear weapon states, such as Japan.
Finally, we hope that President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima will enable him to evoke the spirit of the Russell Einstein manifesto, which called us all to “remember your humanity, and forget the rest.” Although the President will not visit Nagasaki this time, we would like to remind him of the message of the Nagasaki Declaration by the Pugwash Council, issued in November 2015:“Let Nagasaki be the last”. We sincerely hope that his visit to Hiroshima will move him to renew his Prague pledge to rid the world of nuclear weapons and to invite other nuclear weapon states to do the same.
“who endorsed this statement”
Yuzo Itagaki, Tomohiro Inagaki, Hiromichi Umebayashi, Koji Enomoto, Masakatsu Ota, Yoko Kobayashi, Yoshiko Kurita, Shoji Sawada, Tatsujiro Suzuki, Takao Takahara, Seigo Hirowatari, Masakatsu Yamazaki, Fumihiko Yoshida, (As of May 15, 2016)