Photo/Illutration Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, fifth from left, briefs Group of Seven leaders about the Cenotaph and Atomic Bomb Dome in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park as he escorts the group in the city on May 19. (Koichi Ueda)

Where was the world’s first atomic bomb dropped on Aug. 6, 1945?

This question popped into my head--and just wouldn’t go away--while I watched footage of the Group of Seven leaders visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum together in the rainy weather.

Where was that bomb dropped?

It was dropped on Japan 78 years ago. It forced survivors to wrongfully suffer all sorts of horrors and calamities, making them want to renounce war forever at that time.

But in Japan, of all places, its national security policy is now undergoing a major transition, shaking the very foundations of the “defense only” principle. How am I supposed to take this reality?

Where was that bomb dropped?

I could say it was dropped on Asia. But when I look at Japan’s neighbors in Asia, I unfortunately do not perceive any signs of shared awareness.

In fact, North Korea keeps repeating its dangerous provocations, and China is proceeding with rapid military expansion.

Where was that bomb dropped?

It was dropped on the world, on this very planet Earth. And yet, we continue to hear Russia’s overt threat to use nuclear weapons, while none of the nuclear nations has recently been able to take any steps toward disarmament.

I imagine U.S. President Joe Biden brought the so-called Nuclear Button to Hiroshima, as did his predecessor, President Barack Obama.

The reality is grave and relentless.

Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima hibakusha and nuclear disarmament campaigner, told The Asahi Shimbun, “The idea that humanity should be placed at the center” is important in any discussion pertaining to nuclear weapons. She went on to condemn any nuclear policy that ignores the dignity of human life as “absolute madness.”

A “world without nuclear weapons” will become a reality for certain. Let us continue to hold onto the ideal while facing reality squarely.

I wonder if such was the commitment the G-7 leaders made in their hearts as they prayed in silence on May 19 before the Memorial Cenotaph dedicated to all victims of the A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 20

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.