Survey of candidates for Upper House shows that 5 people agree on TPNW

by Fumiyasu Miyano, Staff Writer

Members of “Kaku seisakuwo shiritai Hiroshima wakamono yukenshano kai” (Kakuwaka Hiroshima), composed mainly of young people in Hiroshima, carried out a survey of six candidates for an Upper House vote in Hiroshima regarding nuclear policies and tallied the survey responses. All of them responded, and five people agreed on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which entered in force January 2021. Ideas about the treaty ratification by the Japanese government were divided.

Members of Kakuwaka Hiroshima conducted the survey by email, telephone, and in face-to-face interviews from April 1 to April 9. All of them expressed their intentions and said that the elimination of nuclear weapons should be sought.

Moreover, five people agreed on the TPNW; Haruko Miyaguchi, 45, a new candidate backed by the Constitutional Democratic Party, Democratic Party for the People, and Social Democratic Party, Shuichi Sato, 45, a new independent, Hiroshi Oyama, 72, a new independent, Noritaka Tamada, 63, a new independent, and Hidenori Nishida, 39, a new Liberal Democratic Party candidate backed by the Komeito Party. Takahira Yamamoto, 46, a new Party that Teaches How to Not Pay the NHK License Fee candidate said that he has not determined whether to agree on the treaty or not.

Non-nuclear weapon states led the efforts to establish the TPNW, and more than 50 countries ratified it, but nine nuclear weapon states including the United States and Russia have not ratified the treaty. At present, the Japanese government, which depends on the U.S. “nuclear umbrella,” is also taking backward-looking stance.

To the question “Do you think that Japan should sign and ratify the TPNW?”, Ms. Miyaguchi, Mr. Sato, Mr. Oyama, and Mr. Tamada answered, “Yes.” Mr. Nishida and Mr. Yamada answered, “No.”

Ms. Miyaguchi pointed out that the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty acts as a barrier when Japan signs and ratifies the treaty. She also said, “Some countries have many nuclear weapons. It is good to phase out them with a balance. Handing down A-bomb survivors’ wishes is important. I think the world will gradually change over the decades.”

Mr. Nishida offered an analysis by saying, “Nuclear weapon states and neighboring countries in the face of a nuclear threat have not joined the TPNW, and an effective framework has not been formed.” He said Japan’s role was to mediate between nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states and added, “A framework should be formed so every country will be convinced and agree on the elimination of nuclear weapons.”

Miho Tanaka, 26, co-leader of Kakuwaka Hiroshima, said, “If the candidates agree on the TPNW, I want them to think about Japan’s process leading to signature and ratification. I want to ask them the question again when they become members of the Diet.”

All responses are published on Kakuwaka Hiroshima’s Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/kakuwakahiroshima/

(Originally published on April 16, 2021)