Reporter’s View: Hiroshima’s ability to voice its antinuclear message is tested

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

One piece of recent news has demonstrated that the appeals from the A-bombed city of Hiroshima have reached the ears of the international community.

On September 5, at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York, Vuk Jeremic, president of the U.N. General Assembly, took the podium to present his experience visiting Hiroshima on August 6, the day which commemorates the A-bombing. In his remarks, Mr. Jeremic called on those who condone nuclear might to visit Hiroshima and tour Peace Memorial Museum. The president of the U.N. General Assembly serves in a significant role, on par with the post of secretary-general of the United Nations. I believe Mr. Jeremic’s strong words have helped move the hearts of U.N. representatives from around the world.

Mr. Jeremic visited Hiroshima for the first time this past summer to attend the annual Peace Memorial Ceremony. He sat for interviews following his tour of the museum and said that this visit had changed his view of life and renewed his convictions for nuclear abolition. I was impressed by his passion as he responded to questions, and the way he listened keenly to the account of an A-bomb survivor.

In our interview, I asked Mr. Jeremic for his thoughts on the “discrepancy” involved in Japan’s stance, as it appeals for the abolition of nuclear arms while relying on the U.S. nuclear umbrella for its national security.

Mr. Jeremic replied persuasively that this may be one way of defending a nation, but as long as nuclear weapons exist in the world, the threat of total annihilation of the whole human race will persist. How, then, can national security be maintained without this dependence on nuclear arms? This is the large challenge that the A-bombed nation must address.

The 68th summer since the atomic bombing has passed, and the average age of the A-bomb survivors is now over 78. How can their experiences by kept alive and passed on to the future? Mr. Jeremic called for the people of the A-bombed city to contribute to the cause of nuclear disarmament, saying that the words of those in Hiroshima carry a special weight. Again, the ability of Hiroshima to voice its message to the world is being put to the test.

(Originally published on September 16, 2013)