Shinzo Abe taking Japan on the wrong track: Japan should pursue the non nuclear path

EDITORIAL: Japan must pursue a path to a nuclear-free world   Asahi Shimbun,August 11, 2014 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki this month, both of which marked the 69th anniversaries of the atomic bombings. In the ceremonies in both cities, he emphasized determination to realize a world without nuclear weapons.

However, it seems that the gap between Abe and the cities that were struck by atomic bombs has increased since last year.

In a meeting with Abe in Hiroshima, 85-year-old hibakusha Yukio Yoshioka said, “(The Cabinet’s approval of the exercise of the right to collective self-defense) will make Japan a country that repeats its (past) mistake and can wage a war.”

Miyako Jodai, 75, who served as the representative of atomic bomb survivors in the ceremony in Nagasaki, said, “I want the government not to forget or deny the sufferings of atomic bomb survivors.”

They apparently demanded that Abe withdraw the Cabinet’s approval of the exercise of the right to collective self-defense.

DIFFERENT FROM DESIRES

There are also other causes of concern.

One is the exports of nuclear power generation infrastructure to emerging countries. Another is negotiations to conclude a nuclear power agreement with India, which has conducted nuclear tests without joining the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Both could lead to nuclear proliferation.

The Abe administration also plans to maintain the policy of removing plutonium from spent nuclear fuels and reusing it in nuclear power plants. After the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture, the future of nuclear power generation remains unclear. In addition, Japan already holds stocks of more than 40 tons of plutonium whose use has yet to be decided. Anti-nuclear groups in Japan and abroad suspect that Japan has the intention of arming itself with nuclear weapons.

Why are the moves of the government of A-bombed Japan so different from the desires for anti-nuclear policies?………..

TRUST AND DIALOGUE

In the Hiroshima Peace Declaration, Mayor Kazumi Matsui called for the establishment of “a new security system based on trust and dialogue.”

In the world, the Obama administration is losing its centripetal force, and its relations with Russia have cooled due to the Ukrainian situation. China’s maritime advances have intensified friction with neighboring countries. The road to the “new security system based on trust and dialogue” is steep. But is it just a dream?

The Nagasaki Peace Declaration this year again advocated an idea of establishing “nuclear-weapon-free zones.” In the proposal, Japan and the Korean Peninsula are denuclearized, and nuclear powers promise not to attack the areas with nuclear weapons.

The Japanese government is negative to the idea on the grounds that relations of trust, which serve as a prerequisite, do not exist in the areas partly because North Korea has repeatedly conducted nuclear tests. North Korea counters the view, saying that what is a threat is the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

Relations of trust will be established through dialogue. To realize the nuclear-weapon-free zones, Japan should first show its intentions to set up the zones and leave the U.S. nuclear umbrella. Then, it should urge the United States to accept the zones. After that, showing a joint goal, Japan should strongly urge North Korea to take part in the negotiations.

The improvement of relations with China is also indispensable. A council of experts from five countries in the Asia and Pacific region, including former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, asked Japan and China to hold a summit meeting in its proposal compiled in Hiroshima.

It is not easy to untangle a thread. Unless there is a dialogue, however, nothing will start. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/views/editorial/AJ201408110020

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