Ambassador of Japan to Hungary talks about role of A-bombed nation

by Jumpei Fujimura, Staff Writer

Tadamichi Yamamoto, 62, the Ambassador of Japan to Hungary, has roots in Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima. During a return visit to Japan, the Chugoku Shimbun interviewed Mr. Yamamoto on Hungary’s stance toward nuclear disarmament and his activities as an ambassador of the A-bombed nation.

What stance does Hungary take toward nuclear disarmament?
János Martonyi, Hungary’s foreign minister, served as co-chairperson at the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which was held in New York this past September. Hungary takes nuclear disarmament very seriously. For example, a conference concerning arms control and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, organized by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), was held in Hungary last year.

At the same time, Hungary joined NATO at a later stage than other member nations, and it would like to cooperate in a proactive manner to maintain peace and stability in Europe through strength.

How does Hungary view the A-bombed nation of Japan?
It is widely felt that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were tragedies of humanity. Hungary has been one of the co-sponsors each year of the Japan-led resolution on nuclear abolition at the U.N. General Assembly. But opinion leaders and people in the nation’s business sector still hold a strong image of Japan as an economic power.

How have you promoted Japan’s efforts for peace?
When I am asked to give speeches at universities and other institutions, I talk about why Japan aspires to be a pacifist nation. I explain to the audience that the firm consensus of the Japanese public is that peace is not realized by force. This sentiment was born following the atomic bombings and Japan’s defeat in World War II. I also share such cases as the successful resolution of conflict in Cambodia, pointing out that Japan was able to contribute to this outcome because our nation wields no force.

What role do you think Hiroshima should play?
When I say that I’m from Hiroshima, listeners always sit up more straightly. Although there are differing ideas and positions when it comes to the atomic bombing, I’m also aware of the great significance of the A-bombed city to humanity as a whole. It is certainly true that what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a result of the A-bombings prompts the shared value of human dignity among us all.

Diplomacy becomes poor in substance when it is not supported by the people. Sometimes it’s important for people to speak out when it comes to a nation’s diplomatic efforts. I hope that a range of voices will be raised from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


Tadamichi Yamamoto
Mr. Yamamoto was raised in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, and in Tokyo. After graduating from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in 1974. He was appointed to his current post in September 2012, after serving in such roles as representative of North Korean Nuclear Issues and Ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

(Originally published on October 25, 2013)