The G7 meeting held in Hiroshima last weekend marks a major diplomatic accomplishment for Japan. In addition to their Joint Communique, appropriate to the location of the meeting, the G7 foreign ministers adopted the Hiroshima Declaration on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmamentfollowing the meeting. Two additional statements–one on maritime security and the other on general non-proliferation and disarmament—were also adopted.
All the media attention was on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and his reaction afterwards. Following Kerry’s visit, the focus of the debate in the United States now iswhether President Barack Obama should visit Hiroshima while in Japan next month to attend the G7 Summit in Ise-Shima. In a way, this initial reaction is understandable. Hiroshima, along with Nagasaki, has long been an iconic symbol for nuclear disarmament. At the same time, at least in the United States, these two cities have often resurrected a heated debate on whether the use of atomic bombs at the end of World War II was justified. Kerry’s careful avoidance of any reference to the U.S. use of atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki speaks to the reality in the United States that this fateful decision remains extremely sensitive politically.
This is an excerpt from Yuki Tatsumi’s article in The Diplomat on April 29, 2016. For more, read here.