May 15, 2023
Japan Federation of Newspaper Workers’ Unions (Shimbunroren)
Executive President Masayoshi Ishikawa
Labor Union of The Chugoku Shimbun
Executive President Toru Tawa
Ahead of the Group of Seven (G7) Summit meeting (May 19 – 21), we demand that the Japanese government demonstrate leadership as the host country and accelerate tangible discussions toward abolishing nuclear weapons. The significance of this demand is that the G7 leaders (including those from four nuclear states: the US, the UK, France and India) will gather in Hiroshima City, one of the world’s most famous survivor of a nuclear bomb.
We are concerned that since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the global environment surrounding nuclear weapons is deteriorating. Russian President Vladimir Putin has floated the use of nuclear weapons and suspended the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with the United States, while advancing the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. The UK has also decided to provide depleted uranium munitions to Ukraine.
In this part of the world, South Korea recently reaffirmed its alliance with the US in the “Washington Declaration” in order to deter a nuclear attack by North Korea. Calls for discussions on nuclear sharing are mounting in Japan, as well. Countries that are growing increasingly suspicious of one another are trying to make excuses to strengthen their nuclear deterrence.
This is the backdrop for the Hiroshima Summit. As the G7 leaders are scheduled to visit Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and meet with Hibakusha atomic bomb survivors, they should take this opportunity to face the fact that nuclear weapons continue to damage and take lives decades after they have been dropped, and to convey this to the rest of the world.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, elected out of Hiroshima constituency, has announced his commitment to contributing to a world without nuclear weapons and introduced the “Hiroshima Action Plan” last year, calling for nuclear disarmament. This is on the summit agenda. We urge that the G7 leaders to tangibly discuss how the use of nuclear weapons can be avoided, and concrete ways to abolish them forever.
Ending the war in Ukraine is urgent, and solidarity among the leaders is necessary to achieve this. However, they must not make Hiroshima a forum to shift in the direction of nuclear deterrence. This is inextricably linked to the risk of using nuclear weapons. Amid increasing nuclear threats, it is time to begin discussing how we can end these weapons, rather than increasing the risk of their use.
Calls for a nuclear-free world are mounting. The Nuclear Weapons Convention, effective in January 2021, has been signed by 92 countries and regions and ratified by 68 countries and regions. However, Japan, which is dependent on the US nuclear umbrella, has not signed the convention, nor even attended conferences as an observer. This is clearly inconsistent with Japan’s anti-nuclear stance. We call on the Japanese government to start serious discussions. Finally, we also call on journalists coming to Hiroshima from across the world to report not only the voices of the major powers but also those of the people of Hiroshima, who are earnestly seeking to realize a world without nuclear weapons and without war; and the voices of the Hibakusha, who are ageing. We, the members of the Japan Federation of Newspaper Workers’ Unions, do not depend on nuclear deterrence but stand with these citizens calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.