When the atomic bomb exploded over Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, my mother was pregnant with me. She lived one or two mountains away from Urakami, the hypocenter area. Three days after the bombing, she went to her parents' home in Urakami and was exposed to radiation. I lost my grandmother, two of my aunts, my aunt's husband and, 13 years later, one of my cousins. The body of one of my aunts was not even found. I still remember clearly how my cousin was skin and bones when he died. I became a priest and trained future priests at the Major Seminary of Fukuoka for 30 years. As a person of faith in an atomic-bombed country with a pacifist Constitution, I have a strong desire to abolish nuclear weapons.

Japan is now faced with two serious realities concerning nuclear weapons. One is that Japan regrettably did not join the U.N. negotiations for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and will not be able to join the treaty so long as it is under the nuclear umbrella of the United States. The other is that North Korea is charging ahead in pursuit of becoming a nuclear power and the military tension in Northeast Asia is running extremely high.

This situation entails Japan renewing its fundamental thinking on what nuclear weapons are all about.