G7 commits to total abolition of nuclear arms

It is highly significant that the Group of Seven major powers — including the three nuclear powers of the United States, Britain and France — issued a clear message to pursue the eradication of nuclear weapons, doing so from a city flattened by the atomic bomb.

The G7 adopted the Hiroshima Declaration on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation at its foreign ministers’ meeting in Hiroshima.

“The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki experienced immense devastation and human suffering,” the declaration says. To work towards a world without nuclear weapons, the declaration calls on political leaders and other people to visit the two cities. It also calls for promoting dialogue between nuclear weapon states and nonnuclear-weapon states and enhancing transparency regarding nuclear arms.

Last year’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference fell apart due to confrontations between participating countries. Japan, as the only country hit by an atomic bombing, has the mission of leading nuclear disarmament efforts. Based on the Hiroshima Declaration, Japan should strive to restructure the international cooperative regime on nuclear nonproliferation.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday became the first incumbent U.S. Cabinet member to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. He laid a wreath at the cenotaph for victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Commenting on the tour of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Kerry said, “I don’t see how anyone could forget the images of what happened.”

Opinions that dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justified are still strong in the United States. Kerry’s visit to Hiroshima must be used as a step toward closing the gap in perception of nuclear weapons between Japan and the United States.

The G7 foreign ministers also adopted a statement on Maritime Security, which is based on the assessment that tensions have been mounting in the South China Sea.

The statement, though without pointing fingers at China, “urges all states to refrain from such actions as land reclamations as well as their use for military purposes.”

China has been accelerating attempts to change the status quo by force, reclaiming manmade islands and pushing ahead with militarization on them.

It is significant that not only Japan and the United States, but also the G7 as a whole, collectively recognized the seriousness of the security situation in the region. In cooperation with Southeast Asian nations, the G7 must tenaciously call on China to refrain from self-serving actions.

The statement also emphasized the importance of settling maritime disputes in accordance with international law, including arbitration. This could serve as a warning to China, which has refused to settle a territorial dispute with the Philippines at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

The G7 foreign ministers agreed to lead global efforts to deal with the Islamic State extremist group.

To prevent terrorism, it is necessary to take multilateral approaches such as sharing information, imposing stricter immigration controls and taking measures against the financing of terrorism.

More concrete antiterrorism measures should be put forth at the Ise-Shima G7 summit to be held late next month.

The G7 foreign ministers released a joint communique condemning “in the strongest terms” the nuclear test and ballistic missile launches conducted by North Korea. It is essential for the international community to strictly implement the U.N. Security Council resolution adopted in March on sanctions against North Korea, thereby ramping up pressure on the country.

(Asia News Network)