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G-7 goal of nuclear-free world increasingly challenged

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who hosted the summit, continues calling for the realization of the vision. (AP/file)
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who hosted the summit, continues calling for the realization of the vision. (AP/file)
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19 May 2024 01:05:42 GMT9
19 May 2024 01:05:42 GMT9

TOKYO: The road to a nuclear-free world is becoming rockier a year after leaders from the Group of Seven major democracies adopted a landmark document on nuclear disarmament.

On May 19, 2023, the first day of the three-day G-7 summit in the western Japan city of Hiroshima, the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States plus the European Union adopted the Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament, which reaffirmed their “commitment to the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons.”

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who hosted the summit, continues calling for the realization of the vision. But momentum for nuclear disarmament has not increased, partly because Russia has threatened to use nuclear weapons in its military aggression against Ukraine.

The Hiroshima Vision was announced after the G-7 leaders, also including US President Joe Biden, visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on the first day of the summit. Hiroshima, which is Kishida’s political home base, was devastated by a US atomic bomb on Aug. 6, 1945, in the closing days of World War II. Kishida says realizing a world without nuclear weapons is his lifework.

The Hiroshima Vision also said, “We reiterate our position that threats by Russia of nuclear weapon use, let alone any use of nuclear weapons by Russia, in the context of its aggression against Ukraine are inadmissible.”

In the document, the leaders also criticized China’s buildup of nuclear arsenal and North Korea’s nuclear development program.

Kishida and Biden, in a joint statement adopted at their meeting at the White House in April this year, during Kishida’s state visit to the United States, reconfirmed that the Hiroshima Vision is a welcome contribution toward a world free from nuclear weapons.

However, the situation is becoming increasingly difficult.

Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the implementation of drills for tactical nuclear weapons capable of reaching Europe. Belarus, a Russian neighbor, is expected to participate in the drills.

The move “runs counter to the efforts to make the world free from nuclear weapons,” an official of the Japanese government said.

Also, Putin held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Thursday, demonstrating their countries’ strong ties. In addition, Russia is working to deepen its military cooperation with North Korea, a move causing the security environment in East Asia to worsen further.

In November last year, a cabinet minister of Israel, which is reinforcing its attacks on Hamas in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, said that using an atomic bomb is an option.

Tensions in the Middle East grew further because Israel, a de facto nuclear power, is also fighting Iran, which continues nuclear development.

This month, the United States conducted a subcritical nuclear test for the first time in about two years and eight months.

Kishida plans to call for nuclear disarmament again at this year’s G-7 summit in Italy next month.

Ahead of this, the Japanese government will hold the fourth meeting of the International Group of Eminent Persons for a World without Nuclear Weapons in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We will continue and strengthen realistic and practical efforts using the Hiroshima Vision as a powerful springboard,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi told a news conference Friday.

JIJI Press

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