原爆忌 オバマ非核演説をどう生かす

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 6, 2009)
Obama's nonnuclear goal worthy but difficult
原爆忌 オバマ非核演説をどう生かす(8月6日付・読売社説)

It has been 64 years since atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and this year a ray of light appeared to illuminate the profound desire of those who experienced the terrible devastation of the atomic bombings to see a world free of nuclear weapons.

This light was the speech by U.S. President Barack Obama in Prague in April.

In the speech, Obama clarified that "the United States has a moral responsibility" to lead an effort to realize a world without nuclear weapons "as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon."

The speech was not an admission of responsibility by Obama over using destructive weapons on Japan, which was unable to continue fighting at the time.

However, it is no surprise that this speech by the U.S. president, whose country tends to justify the dropping of the atomic bombs, has brought excitement and hope to people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

We hope Obama, without betraying those hopes, exerts leadership by promoting talks on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia as well as leading the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.


New treaty for new times

We also need to look at another aspect of Obama's speech.

Obama said of eliminating nuclear weapons: "This goal will not be reached quickly--perhaps not in my lifetime." The current state of the world's nuclear weapons is precarious.

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which bans the possession of nuclear weapons except by five nations--Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States--has become a mere facade since India and Pakistan became nuclear powers. And even among the five nations, China has been building up its nuclear arms.

There also is a growing risk that nuclear weapons and related materials could fall into the hands of terrorists.

The United States is at last seriously addressing the issue of nuclear disarmament--a responsibility is shoulders as a nuclear power under the NPT--a move being touted as a way to thwart the potential for nuclear terrorism, which the United States fears most.


Still under the U.S. umbrella?

Japan also faces serious threats from nuclear weapons.

Earlier this year, North Korea aggressively conducted missile launches and a second nuclear test.

Japan has to depend on the U.S. nuclear umbrella to be safe from any North Korean nuclear missile and other military threats. After Obama's speech, it is not surprising that the government has tried to reconfirm with the United States the protection of the nuclear umbrella, as Japan fears a weakened nuclear deterrence.

Meanwhile, Katsuya Okada, secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan, stressed that Japan should make the United States pledge that it will never preemptively use nuclear weapons.

He explained that this would not prohibit U.S. retaliations if a hostile nation strikes first, which he said would partly expose Japan from the protection of the nuclear umbrella. But doesn't this render useless the protection afforded by the umbrella?

While seeking the elimination of nuclear weapons, the grave reality is that we must also depend on the nuclear deterrent. It is vital that nuclear disarmament be tackled without having it threaten Japan's peace and security.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 6, 2009)
(2009年8月6日01時24分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2009-08-06 07:20 | 英字新聞

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