Will the US face hard facts on Hiroshima, Nagasaki?
The recent announcement by Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida that Hiroshima city will host the Group of Seven (G7) Summit in 2023, is bound to raise the interest of experts for its geopolitical significance.
The main issue surrounds Japan’s relations with the US decades after the latter dropped atomic bombs on the twin cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, respectively, 1945 during World War II (WWII).
Not that Japan has ever made demands from the US. The latter did help its former enemy to rebuild after the utter destruction.
According to the US Department of State, normal diplomatic relations were re-established in 1952, when the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, which had overseen the postwar Allied occupation of Japan since 1945, disbanded. The Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States was signed in 1960.
Kishida took the perfect opportunity to make the announcement during the visit to the country by US President Joe Biden as part of his first Asian tour as president.
The Japanese PM did not want to embarrass his US counterpart, as a result of the historical blot. But there is a myriad of unspoken issues, buried under the carpet after the US’s unilateral devastating action during WWII.
True, the aim was to bring a speedy end to the war and avoid American casualties in a direct confrontation with Japanese soldiers. It is estimated that over 210,000 Japanese died in both cities.
The aftermath of the atomic raids has been felt for decades mainly from the high levels of radioactivity, including the physical and psychological trauma experienced by immediate survivors and posterity.
The atomic bombing discredits US grandstanding in stopping other countries from developing nuclear weapons on the premise that it will breed global insecurity.
Instructively, the country holds the distinction of being the only country that has ever used an atomic bomb. Shouldn’t the US be leading in downgrading and reducing its nuclear weapons arsenal before stopping others?
Thirdly, the US should have already followed Germany’s example of paying reparations to Jews annihilated in the Nazi gas chambers and pay victims of its atrocious action on Japan’s twin cities. Sadly, there still seems to be a sense of justification, like Japan deserved the just desserts for its aggression. The US should own up not just for the atrocity in Japan, but also for military actions that have devastated other countries, many of which have been motivated by allegations or vengeance.
Indeed, Biden should be brave enough and follow a couple of precedents. One is that of former President Ronald Reagan who in a June 24, 2004 interview with CNN stated that the Iraq war was “unnecessary and optional”.
Second is a recent admission by former President George Bush who in an alleged gaffe in a Texas event described the invasion of Iraq as “wholly unjustified and brutal”. The Iraq debacle happened during Bush’s tenure, so his mea culpa raised a lot of excitement and interest. The war cost $ two trillion and thousands of American soldiers’ lives.
The world can only wait to see whether the US will revisit this dark past during the G7. But it is highly unlikely that there will be any covert pressure either from its top Asian partner or from the membership of the G7.
In such circumstances, experts believe the group will divert attention by using the US atomic bombing to warn the world against Russia President Vladimir Putin’s threats to use nuclear arms if the West attacks his country in the ongoing war with Ukraine. The only way to have sustainable peace in the world is to apply international law equally regardless of the power a country holds over others.
— The writer comments on international affairs