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Hiroshima Shows the Way for 'World Without Nuclear Weapons,' says PM Fumio Kishida in G7 Closing

Bringing the 2023 G7 Hiroshima Summit to a close, PM Kishida called on all those assembled in his hometown to "believe in humanity and demand peace."



Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks in front of the Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims and the Atomic Bomb Dome in the Peace Memorial Park during the Presidency Press Conference of the G7 Hiroshima Summit in Hiroshima, May 21, 2023. (©Sankei, PHOTO: Yukuto Hagihara)

It was under the glorious sunshine with the A-Bomb Dome at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park as the backdrop. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivered his closing remarks here as the G7 Hiroshima Summit chair on May 21. 

As a Hiroshima native, PM Kishida sent a strong message to the world about peace. 

The poignancy of the location was highlighted as the war in Ukraine enters 15th month. Meanwhile, Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Hiroshima to appeal to the foreign leaders gathered there. 

"The mission of Japan, as this year's G7 chair, is to uphold the international order and demonstrate our determination to protect peace and prosperity in the world. To convey such resolve, no location is more appropriate than Hiroshima, a symbol of peace," said Kishida. 

Recounting his experience as G7 chair, Kishida further summarized the May 19-21 summit's achievements. Uniform condemnation of "unilateral attempts to change the status quo" was accompanied by outreach to the Global South and developing countries. In addition, issues such as food security, economic security, fair development financing, the environment, and gender were also addressed.

Directly related to Japan's security, he also addressed North Korea's nuclear missile launches and the unresolved abductions issue. "We confirmed our will to cooperate, and to continue to demand for the return of the abductees," he said.

Visitors in front of the A-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (© Sankei)

A Symbolic Location

Prime Minister Kishida isn't often emotional in his press conferences. In fact, local media have sometimes defined him as quite subdued, not prone to colorful quotes. 

The atmosphere was quite different, however, on May 21. After all, he was standing a short distance from where in 2016, he had guided the first incumbent American President, Barack Obama, on his visit to the Hiroshima Memorial Park. There, he explained to G7 leaders, on August 6, 1945, at least 140,000 people were blotted out by a single atomic bomb


On May 21, Kishida highlighted the importance of G7 leaders listening to an a-bomb survivor's account at the park's museum. "That is why, as G7, we were able to send a strong message," he said. "And I feel the historical significance of this moment," added Kishida. 

He called on all those assembled at the G7 Hiroshima Summit to "believe in humanity and demand peace."

It's worth mentioning that Kishida was walking a tightrope. On the one hand, there was great symbolism in meeting in the city of Hiroshima. But at the same time, Kishida was shouldering the high expectations of a-bomb survivors and activists who wish to see him take a stronger position against nuclear weapons. 

Highlighting the host city as an example, Kishida stated, "All of us here, the leaders, the media, we are all citizens of Hiroshima. If everyone were to become like Hiroshima citizens, surely we would have a world without nuclear weapons." 

North Korea
Missile launched by North Korea's "tactical nuclear operations units" between September 25 and October 9, 2022. (© Korean Central News Agency via Kyodo)

Ideal and Reality of Nuclear Arms

Previously in other venues, the prime minister from Hiroshima had highlighted his desire to "bridge the gap between the ideal and reality" regarding nuclear arms arsenals around the world.

On May 21, Kishida highlighted how G7 leaders reached agreement on the group's position on nuclear arms. The document is called the "Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament." 

The Hiroshima Vision underscores the leaders' concern about Russia's aggressive rhetoric on nuclear weapons and also the situation of the war in Ukraine. 

"The international community stands at a turning point in history, witnessing Russia's desire to unilaterally change the status quo by force," said also Kishida. "The threat, much less the use, of nuclear weapons to change the status quo by force is not acceptable. We must now ask ourselves this fundamental question that concerns the survival of the human race."

Flags of China and Russia are displayed in this illustration picture taken March 24, 2022. (REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo)

China and Respect for Rule of Law

Several themes were brought to the fore in Hiroshima with more resolve than in previous G7 summits. At the very end, however, Kishida focused specifically on China. He called on the global economic powerhouse to "act responsibly as a member of the international community." 

The Japanese leader listed specifically the G7's "serious concern regarding the situation in the East China Sea and South China Sea," and the agreement on "the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait."

Upon a follow-up question on whether Japan is planning to impose sanctions on China, Kishida further said that Japan will consider all options together with other G7 leaders. 

"As G7, we are ready to build constructive and stable relations with China through dialogue," concluded Kishida. 


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Author: Arielle Busetto