Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said he plans to urge world leaders to foster mutual trust through dialogue in his statement marking the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of his city.
“My Peace Declaration (to be issued Aug. 6) will call on leaders around the world, including Japan, to stop taking actions that could cause mistrust in each other,” so no one ever again suffers a nuclear attack, Matsui said Thursday in Tokyo at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.
Matsui said he will not directly mention in the declaration the Abe government’s controversial security bills that would ease restrictions on use of the Self-Defense Forces, but he pointed to the need to uphold a broad diplomatic policy that focuses on dialogue rather than making preparations for possible threats.
Article 9 of the Constitution prohibits the use of force to settle international disputes. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s bills, now under debate in the Diet, would authorize Japan to engage in collective self-defense, or allow the SDF to defend allies like the United States that come under armed attack.
Many constitutional scholars have said the proposed legislation contravenes the war-renouncing Constitution. Large protests have also been held, attracting people who fear the bills could lead Japan to become embroiled in war again.
For world leaders to affirm the importance of creating relationships of trust, Matsui said he wants them to visit Hiroshima to deepen understanding of the terrible consequences of nuclear weapons and listen to the stories of bomb survivors.
Asked whether U.S. leaders should apologize for dropping the atomic bomb if they visit the city, Matsui said: “I don’t think we should make an issue of whether they should apologize or not. . . . What I want leaders to do when they visit Hiroshima is to vow toward the future that they will never allow this kind of thing to happen again.”
The U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, bringing World War II to an end.
Casualties from the atomic bombings by the end of that year were estimated at around 140,000 in Hiroshima and 70,000 in Nagasaki.