The people of Hiroshima have proven themselves wiser enough following the atom bomb attack carried out by the USA in 1945 on the city to reduce it to ashes. Although the inhabitants of this beautiful part of Japan were sadder after experiencing the world’s first nuclear attack , they have displayed unique rationality to bounce back and turn their homeland into an island of peace. Ever since, Hiroshima is known as the city of peace.
What should be seen as the beauty in the city’s heroic rise is that instead of taking revenge and cultivating animosity towards America , the people of Hiroshima resolved to turn the wounds into an opportunity and return evil with virtue ; Hiroshima kept a cool head and set an example of gifting the world with friendship and peace in the wake of the 6 August 1945 tragedy which devastated and devoured the city.
Hiroshima last week had the honour of hosting the G7 summit of the seven richest democracies, a symbol of the city’s power. On the occasion, Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, very diligently sent a message across in accordance with Heroshima ‘s peace cause . He emphasized that the world must strive towards the globe without nuclear weapons — indication that these weapons of mass destruction largely contribute to the global level tension and trouble . He also impliedly reminded the world about the 1946 catastrophe his nation had to suffer from. The visiting G7 leaders also went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, which puts on display the horrific memories of the US action .
Pertinently this noble message of nuclear disarmament came from the host nation ‘s premier at a time when there is a growing apprehension that the non-stop Russia-Ukraine war is inching towards a nuclear confrontation between Russia and NATO . No end to the bloody war is disappointing.
The good news is that towards the end of the Heroshima summit , the leaders ( in their final communique) pledged to make serious efforts aimed at achieving Japan’s vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. That is despite the fact that the three G7 countries – the US, Britain, and France – together own about 50 percent of the world’s nuclear arsenal out of nearly 12,500 weapons of destruction.
Most importantly, US President Joe Biden— whose country possess about 5,428 nuclear weapons— wrote: “May the stories of this Museum remind us all of our obligations to build a future of peace. Together, let us continue to make progress toward the day when we can finally and forever rid the world of nuclear weapons. Keep the faith.”
The communique by the G7 leaders also reminded Russia of its commitment towards disarmament and asked the country to pull out from the territories it occupies in Ukraine. “In a solemn and reflective moment, we reaffirm, in this first G7 Leaders’ document with a particular focus on nuclear disarmament, our commitment to achieving a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all.”
Granted the summit’s disarmament message is good but there exists a gulf between the message and the state of affairs on ground . The march of events exposes the contradictory claims. Time and again threats are issued regarding the use of an atom weapon to realise a foreign policy goal. Non-nuclear states are under constant pressure to defend their territories and fulfill their other national interests in the presence of the nuclear powers.
Japan, as an example, looks towards the US nuclear arsenal to protect itself from three nuclear weapon possessing states in its neighbourhood – Russia with 5,977 nuclear weapons, China with 410 nuclear weapons, and unpredictable North Korea with 20 nuclear weapons. Besides, Japan is a chief member of the Quadrilateral Security Alliance or the Quad . This is a formal grouping whose leaders meet regularly. Last week, on the margins of the G7 summit, the Quad members such as the US, Australia, India and Japan held a meeting; Australia and India were also present in Japan during the G7 summit , signalling the key place the two states are gaining in the international arena.
Notably, Japan is increasing its military budget while maintaining that it is committed to peace building and its militarisation move was simply meant to defend itself. But in light of the country’s dependency on the nuclear-power America, its drive for disarmament looks to have bleak prospects.
As the possession of nuclear weapons symbolises power, the G7’s nuclear powers are unlikely to agree to the complete abolition of these weapons. Disarmament call will fall flat if it implies a reduction in the number of nuclear weapons ; nuclear disarmament should aim at the complete abolition of the destructive weapons. Will one or two nuclear nations take the first step towards disarmament? Perhaps not.
From the venue of the G7 summit, president Joe Biden announced the supply of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. This move is likely to worsen the situation and not decide the war in Ukraine’s victory . Russia is certain to fight back with weapons that can do more destruction. Even nuclear weapons may come into action. Biden knows that .
Meanwhile, the G7 communiqué has not gone well with China. Global Times — China’s Communist Party newspaper— stated what “the group does is to hinder international peace, undermine regional stability and curb other countries’ development.”
Agreed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is uncalled for and must be seen as a violation of international law but an eastward expansion of NATO through Ukraine’s membership is sure to give Moscow sleepless nights though alliance states that its purpose is only defence.
In the interest of peace , Russia must withdraw from Ukraine but the G7 summit in Hiroshima should have been used as a launching pad to call for a diplomatic solution to the crisis. Giving more weapons to Ukraine may add fuel to fire as Moscow’s both honour and power are at stake in the ongoing Ukraine war.