A three-day meeting of the G-7 summit concluded in Hiroshima, Japan on 21 May. Prime Minister Kishida Fumio chose His hometown – the first city in the world to be subjected to atomic bombing – as the host city with the determination to promote a world without nuclear weapons. At the summit, the G-7 leaders issued a joint statement titled “Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament“What Kishida Said”historical significance,
The Hiroshima Vision reaffirmed the commitment to “achieve a world without nuclear weapons with reduced safety for all” and outlined “realistic, practical and responsible approaches” to this end, such as maintaining a record of nuclear non-use. Maintaining, a continued decline in the global nuclear arsenal, and a moratorium on nuclear testing and production of fissile material for weapons purposes. Drishti also promoted nuclear transparency, entering the force of Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) And Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT), and disarmament and nonproliferation education. These proposed measures are overall in line with Japan Hiroshima Action PlanAnnounced by Kishida at the NPT Review Conference in August 2022.
while the Hiroshima Vision was certainly Important In various cases, advocate for nuclear abolition, including hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombings in 1945) criticized the document, pointing out that it failed to show concrete steps toward a world without nuclear weapons and did not even mention the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
Along with the Hiroshima Action Plan, the Hiroshima Vision would serve as the foundation for Japan’s future nuclear disarmament efforts. However, Tokyo needs to navigate two difficult dilemmas as outlined in these statements as Japan approaches nuclear disarmament.
There is an emerging dilemma between being committed to the continued decline of nuclear weapons around the world and supporting the future development of the US nuclear program to ensure the credibility of America’s nuclear deterrence. This point appeared in the Hiroshima Vision as concern about Russia’s nuclear saber and China’s accelerated nuclear expansion, among others.
With the rise of China as a second nuclear peer, the region is expected to 1,500 weapons By 2035, and Russia’s defiance of bilateral arms control arrangements, the United States has observed an emerging discussion of the “two-peer” problem—that is, Former US Stratcom Commander As it put it, “For the first time in history, the nation faces two potentially strategic peerless, nuclear-capable adversaries at the same time who must be deterred in different ways.” This two-peer debate is leading to growing domestic calls for an expansion of the US nuclear arsenal.
republican leaders For example, the House and Senate Armed Services committees have said that the United States has no time to waste in developing a nuclear posture that can deter both China and Russia, which means “higher numbers and new capabilities. ” In fact, a recent report Center for Global Security Research recommends that Washington redeploy additional nuclear warheads from its reserve new beginning Treaty A follow-up expires in February 2026 without agreement, and the US develops sea-launched nuclear cruise missiles to strengthen the expanded nuclear deterrent. The report also suggested that if a major US nuclear force is needed in the future, the necessary decisions and investments should be made now.
If Washington moves to expand its nuclear arsenal, Tokyo will have to decide whether to support this policy change. However, supporting US nuclear expansion would contradict the Hiroshima Vision’s statement that “the overall decline in global nuclear arsenals since the end of the Cold War should continue and not reverse.” an American decision to expand its nuclear arsenal, in addition, forward Nuclear arms race with China and Russia. Some The G-7’s agreed commitment to a sustained decline in nuclear weapons is expected to help stem this momentum in Washington, but it could potentially undermine America’s expanded nuclear deterrence.
Faced with this dilemma, Japan must decide whether to support, oppose, or remain silent about a future US nuclear program. Japan’s embrace of US nuclear expansion could increase domestic US calls for more nuclear weapons, as has happened in the past. For example, Tokyo’s security concerns and lobbying with the former Obama administration reportedly raised Controversy About retiring nuclear-armed Tomahawk missiles.
The second dilemma relates to Japan’s position on the TPNW. While the Hiroshima Vision stated that it aimed to promote “the realities of the use of nuclear weapons”, it avoided using the phrase “human consequences of the use of nuclear weapons” as advocated by TPNW supporters. The same phrase, “the realities of the use of nuclear weapons”, was also used in the Hiroshima Action Plan. This suggests that Japan has been careful about its language for fear that showing support for the TPNW could strain Japan-US relations. Indeed, Washington has periodically issued warnings to its nuclear allies, such as Japan, AustraliaAnd NATO statesWhen they take steps to get closer to TPNW.
On the other hand, as the only country to have carried out the wartime atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan is expected to take a leading role in highlighting the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and advocating for their abolition. There is growing international and domestic pressure to take a humanitarian approach and support the TPNW, as nuclear abolitionists become increasingly dissatisfied with progress on nuclear disarmament under the NPT regime. it is fueled by failure Activists’ disappointment with the adoption of the Consensus Document at the last NPT Review Conference and the Hiroshima Vision this time at the G-7.
This dilemma has shaped recent Japanese decisions on nuclear disarmament. For example, unlike some NATO countries, Japanese government decided not to attend the first meeting of TPNW member states as an observer, while Tokyo sent its officers The day before for the Conference on the Human Effects of Nuclear Weapons. At the NPT review conference, Kishida refrained from using humanitarian language in his Hiroshima Action Plan, while Japan, unlike other US nuclear allies, was supportive. joint humanitarian statement Presented by Costa Rica.
This mixed Japanese position also appears Kishida’s general attitude on the TPNW, which he considers “an important treaty that can serve as an exit to realizing a world without nuclear weapons”. In this regard, Japan will have to decide whether to support humanitarian statements in the upcoming NPT Preparatory Committee and/or participate as an observer in the second meeting of the TPNW in the near future.
These two dilemmas reflect the long-standing challenge of balancing nuclear disarmament and nuclear deterrence, which the Japanese government is trying to resolve. Unfortunately, this dichotomy is likely to become even more striking as a result of the deteriorating international security environment on the one hand and growing demands to support the TPNW on the other. Faced with these opposing dynamics, Japan must navigate a challenging path toward a world without nuclear weapons.