Reflections on President Obama’s Historic Visit to Hiroshima:
Renewing Our Determination to Achieve a Nuclear-Weapon Free World
June 5, 2016
As members of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, which has been striving for the elimination of nuclear weapons and the abolition of war, and as Japanese scientists and citizens who have been aspiring to rebuild Japan as a peaceful and democratic nation, we hereby express our genuine respect for President Obama’s courage to visit Hiroshima, the city that suffered utter destruction by a single atomic bomb dropped by the United States 71 years ago at the final stage of the Second World War.
The President’s speech in front of the cenotaph, which began with the experiences of the people at ground zero, remarked that those who perished that fateful day were human beings just like ourselves, regardless of whether they were Japanese, Koreans or detained American pilots. The President’s speech had three important messages. First, the scientific revolution requires a “moral revolution” as well. Second, all states, in particular nuclear weapon states, must have the courage to escape “the logic of fear” and pursue a world without nuclear weapons. Finally, we must change our mindset about the war itself. Stepping down from the podium, he proceeded to shake hands and embrace the hibakusha, who had for many years suffered from radiation-related diseases and social discrimination, and longed to see an incumbent US president visit the city. What we heard and saw reminded us of the renowned sentence from the 1955 Russell-Einstein Manifesto, which alerted the world to the nuclear peril we still face today: “Remember your humanity, and forget the rest.”
Still, it is a pity that the President could not spend enough time at the museum nor listen intently to the stories of inhumanity suffered by the hibakusha which should have been the core of his visit. The President’s visit to Hiroshima will remain only a symbolic act unless concrete actions towards nuclear abolition are taken. Existing nuclear weapons must be de-alerted, quickly reduced and eliminated. Their “modernization” needs to be halted. Legally binding measures to prohibit them must be pursued. The doctrine of “nuclear deterrence” and military alliances reliant on “nuclear umbrella” must be reconsidered. These are the responsibility of both nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states and their citizens.
Inspired by the historic visit of President Obama, with renewed hope, we pledge to work harder towards the world free of nuclear weapons and peace.
"who endorsed this statement"
Masako Ikegami, Tomohiro Inagaki, Hiromichi Umebayashi, Koji Enomoto, Masakatsu Ota, Yoko Kobayashi,
Yoshiko Kurita, Mayumi Sugiyama, Shoji Sawada, Tatsujiro Suzuki, Takao Takahara, Masako Bando, Seigo Hirowatari,
Masakatsu Yamazaki, Fumihiko Yoshida,
(As of June 7, 2016)