March 25, 2013

Japan has duty to fight against nuclear weapons

The Norwegian government on March 4 and 5 sponsored an international conference on the various effects that nuclear weapons detonations would have on human health, the natural environment and economic development.

Although the conference did not touch on nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear arms reduction or elimination of nuclear weapons, it was significant in that it squarely dealt with the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons.

Government and political leaders and citizens should deepen discussions on this issue and increase the awareness of the cruel nature of nuclear weapons to give momentum to efforts for reduction and eventual eradication of nuclear weapons.

Delegates from 127 countries, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Red Cross and the Red Crescent movement, and civil society organizations took part in the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.

Two atomic bomb survivors, among the Japanese government delegates, told the conference that survivors have suffered not only ill health but also post-traumatic stress disorder from their radiation exposure 68 years ago.

Masao Tomonaga, director the Japanese Red Cross Nagasaki Genbaku (atomic bomb) Hospital, presented his research, which showed a high cancer incidence among atomic bombing survivors. He characterized nuclear weapons as "gene-targeting weapons."

Having suffered the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, Japan has a duty and responsibility to appeal against the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons and work toward their elimination in earnest.

-- The Japan Times, Tokyo, March 18

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