Kishida Eyes In-Depth Nuke Abolition Talks at Hiroshima G-7 Summit

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

Hiroshima, (Jiji Press)—Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday expressed hope to hold thorough debates for a world without nuclear weapons at next year’s Group of Seven summit in the atomic-bombed western Japan city of Hiroshima in May.

“I want to deepen discussions (at the G-7 summit) so that we can release a strong message toward realizing a world free of nuclear weapons,” he said at a closing ceremony for the first meeting of the International Group of Eminent Persons for a World without Nuclear Weapons, or IGEP, held in Hiroshima for two days from Saturday.

“We are facing a tough actual barrier over nuclear disarmament, such as growing threats to use nuclear weapons,” Kishida said. He asked IGEP member experts to “produce meaningful outcomes regarding specific ways to bring the tough reality closer to the ideal” in the run-up to the next review conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or NPT.

Member experts of the IGEP include those from the United States, China and Russia, all nuclear states, India, which has declared its possession of nuclear weapons, and Germany and Argentina, which do not possess such weapons, as well as Japan, also a nonnuclear state.

In talks with reporters after the meeting, Kishida stressed the significance of the IGEP, suggesting that it can play a major role as a bridge between nuclear and nonnuclear states.

Prefectural University of Kumamoto Chancellor Takashi Shiraishi, an IGEP member from Japan, who chaired the two-day Hiroshima meeting, told a press conference that the second IGEP meeting is expected to be held around next spring.

Realizing a world without nuclear weapons is a lifework of Kishida, whose constituency is in Hiroshima, which was devastated by a U.S. atomic bomb on Aug. 6, 1945, in the closing days of World War II.

Kishida proposed the holding of the IGEP meeting as he aimed to boost momentum for nuclear abolition in the run-up to the May 2023 Hiroshima G-7 summit. The G-7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States plus the European Union.