Atomic bomb survivors demonstrate calling for a ban on nuclear arms during the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, 20 May 2023. EFE/EPA/FILE/KIMIMASA MAYAMA

G7 anti-nuclear message fails to convince Hiroshima survivors

By Edurne Morillo

Tokyo, May 22 (EFE).- Japan sought to send a pacifist and anti-nuclear message from the G7 summit in Hiroshima, the first city attacked with an atomic bomb, but several nonprofits and survivors of the bombing have criticized the statements from the gathering as insufficient.

“The G7 Communiqué does not call for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The communiqué only makes excuses for not advancing nuclear disarmament, saying that a world without nuclear weapons is the ‘ultimate goal’ and that a ‘realistic,’ ‘practical,’ and ‘responsible’ approach should be taken,” said a statement by the nonprofit Civil 7.

This group of organizations believes that the leaders of the G7 should have begun negotiations for the elimination of atomic weapons with a certain deadline, but they “have shown no such attitude.”

In the same vein, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an organization awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017, underlined the lack of concrete proposals for nuclear disarmament.

In the final document published at the summit, the leaders of Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Canada condemned Russia’s nuclear threats and China’s lack of transparency regarding its weapons.

However, these NGOs denounced that the final statement did not refer to their own nuclear arsenal.

The Group of Seven has several nuclear powers such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France.

The US also has weapons deployed in two other nations: Germany and Italy, while Japan and Canada are covered by the umbrella of Washington’s nuclear protection.

“The G7 leaders reportedly spent less than 30 min inside the Peace Memorial Museum before placing a wreath at the cenotaph. They also met briefly with atomic bomb survivors, but this statement shows they did not actually listen” to them, the ICAN statement said.

Several survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, known in Japan as “hibakusha”, consider that the visit of the G7 leaders to the Hiroshima Peace Museum last week “was not enough” and also criticized the presence of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, claiming his presence would have eclipsed the disarmament talks.

“In their statement on nuclear disarmament, they condemn Russia’s nuclear threats but justify their own nuclear weapons saying that those are for “defensive” and “deterrence” purposes. What exactly did the G7 leaders feel when they visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and met with HIbakusha?” read the Civil 7 statement.

The Japanese government has not made public the objects or panels to which the leaders have had access, nor the content of their conversation with the hibakusha, so the victims of the atomic bombing consider this as “very strange” and demand greater transparency.

However, several other experts consider Zelenskyy’s visit as favorable for the anti-nuclear cause underlining that Ukraine in recent years was an example for the rest as it got rid of all its nuclear weapons and has not suggested rearming itself even after the Russian invasion.

John Kirton, head of the G7 Research Group at the University of Toronto stressed the final statement was “truly historic”, marking the first time a separate statement was issued on nuclear disarmament, and that all G7 countries agreed to achieve a world without nuclear weapons.

Kirton believed that the Ukrainian and anti-nuclear causes were the same and that the acts in Hiroshima “were not just a photo-op, but had a lot of symbolism.” EFE