An Appeal From Hiroshima to U.S. President Barack Obama
and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo
On August 15, 1945, Japan officially surrendered to the Allied nations following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, which indiscriminately killed over 210 thousand people, mostly civilians, including 40 thousand Koreans. The US proudly claimed this a “victory of freedom and democracy” against Japanese militarism and fascism. In fact the real aim of the U.S. was to demonstrate the power of the mass destruction of the newly produced atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. Strategically, the use of a nuclear weapon was not at all necessary to end the Asia-Pacific War. Emperor Hirohito and other wartime Japanese military and political leaders were also responsible for this indiscriminate massacre by the atomic bombing because they delayed the official surrender until they had secured a guarantee from the Allied Nations that Japan’s “national polity” i.e., the Japanese emperor system and Hirohito’s life, would be preserved.
President Truman justified this genocide with the ironic excuse that it was “to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians,” and to end the long-lasting bloody war in the Asia-Pacific. In this way the US created a myth so as to evade responsibility for its grave war crime. On August 10, 1945, the Japanese government denounced the atrocity of using a nuclear weapon as a serious war crime. It was, however, the first and only protest that the Japanese government ever issued regarding the atomic bombing, and was not supported by any other nation. Thus, the justification of the use of nuclear weapons as an effective means to achieve a “victory of freedom and democracy” was widely accepted. As a consequence, the opportunity to thoroughly examine the criminality of nuclear weapons was lost.
In other words, the opportunity to expose the fact that the American motto “justice is power” had been reversed to mean “power (i.e. nuclear weapons) is justice” was lost. Indeed, the universal principle of “justice is power” was exploited by the U.S. to cover up its grave war crime of using nuclear weapons, so this principle lost its substance. This is the reason that the truly criminal nature of nuclear weapons has still not been clearly addressed, thereby preventing universal knowledge and recognition of this fact. The use of nuclear weapons in any form is a crime against humanity, and the possession of nuclear weapons or nuclear deterrents is a crime against peace, because it is preparation for committing a crime against humanity.
On August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito stated in his Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War that his government had decided to surrender because of the inhumane atomic bombs. By singling out the atomic bombings as the decisive factor in the decision to surrender, Hirohito was able to completely ignore the war crimes committed by the Japanese military across Asia and the Pacific, as well as the anti-Japanese resistance that was taking place throughout Asia. In addition, he exploited the A-bomb damage to indirectly justify the war as a “war to liberate Asia.” In this way, the atomic bombings became a means to conceal not only the war responsibility of the emperor himself and other wartime leaders, but also the responsibility of the Japanese people for a war in the name of the Japanese empire that took tens of millions of lives throughout the Asia-Pacific. Just as President Truman fabricated a myth to cover up the US government’s responsibility for its grave war crimes, so, too, did the Japanese government use the same A-Bomb attacks to conceal its war responsibilities.
As soon as Japan surrendered, the Japanese government adopted the national doctrine of “National Confession of Japanese War Guilt,” claiming that the entire nation was responsible for the war. The real purpose of this doctrine was to obscure who was actually responsible, thus evading the responsibility of wartime leaders including Hirohito. In addition, Hirohito was falsely presented as a peace-loving war-victim who had been politically used and manipulated by a small group of militarists. Because of this myth, Hirohito was perceived by the Japanese people as the symbol of war victimization for the entire nation. Consequently, the feeling that can be called “National Sentiment of Japanese War Victimhood,” soon infiltrated the country and completely replaced the concept “National Confession of Japanese War Guilt.” As a result, all other Asian victims of Japanese war atrocities were excluded from the Japanese sense of war victimhood, and even Korean A-bomb victims were not acknowledged for a long time as victims of the atomic bombing. Moreover, the atomic bombing became politically exploited to present Japan as the war victim nation. Due to this exploitation of the people’s suffering, Japan failed to properly pursue the U.S. and hold it accountable for the crime against humanity that killed many civilians indiscriminately. In other words, because as a nation Japan does not openly recognize the criminality of the many brutal acts it committed against other Asian peoples or its own responsibility for those acts, it cannot expose the significance of similar crimes that the United States perpetrated against the Japanese people.
Many people in Japan are caught in a vicious cycle: precisely because they do not thoroughly interrogate the criminality of the brutal acts the U.S. committed against them or pursue U.S. responsibility for those acts, they are incapable of considering the pain suffered by the victims (Asian peoples) of their own crimes or the gravity of their responsibility for these crimes. Such Japanese mentality can be called a “sense of war victimhood without identifying victimizers.”
This is the reason why Japan has willingly subordinated itself to US military control, although it has never been trusted by neighboring Asian nations, and cannot establish a peaceful relationship with them.
In Japan we are currently confronting a depressing political and social situation with many grave problems, including racially motivated hate-speech, various types of sexual violence and oppressive educational policies. Indeed this undemocratic, social climate is closely related to the failure to carefully examine both the US responsibility for the indiscriminate mass killing caused by the atomic bombings and Japan’s responsibility for war crimes it committed against people throughout the Asia-Pacific. This is mainly because we have failed to fulfill justice through democratic procedures based upon a clear sense of responsibility. In particular, a recent series of undemocratic and anti-human rights policies introduced by Abe Shinzo’s government are a clear manifestation of problems that stem from this failure and which have accumulated over the past 70 years. These are: the enactment of the Secret Information Protection Act; the introduction of unconstitutional Security-related legislation; the construction of a new U.S. military base at Henoko in Okinawa; the virtual disapproval of both the Kono Statement on the so-called “comfort women” system, and the Murayama Statement on Japan’s war of aggression; and the plan to resume nuclear power plant operations.
Clearly, we need to re-examine both the atomic bombing and Japanese wartime atrocities from the viewpoint of “crimes against humanity.” In thus doing, we should aim to establish international solidarity of civil movements, banding together to work against the possession of nuclear weapons, nuclear deterrence, and any form of military violence. We should reconfirm that Article 9 of Japan’s constitution is the foundation of our initiatives for such grass-root movements. Article 9, a concept initially conceived by Prime Minister Shidehara Kijuro shortly after the war, and eagerly supported by Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, General Douglas Macarthur, was formulated as a result of intense discussion at the Diet, clearly reflecting the strong desire for peace held by the Japanese people at the time.
Article 9 was established as a result of experiences of and reflections upon colonialism, militarism and nuclear destruction. Its fundamental philosophy is that “no one has the right to kill another person whatever the reason may be, and no one should be killed for any reason.” Both the indiscriminate mass killing by the atomic bombing and the Japanese wartime atrocities were brutal and destructive violence, which clearly violated the universal principle of the spirit of Article 9. Indeed, it could be said that the perfunctory call for “a world without nuclear weapons” or “the establishment of a peaceful Asia” without acknowledging responsibility for the above atrocities is not simply a sham, but also a betrayal of humanity and contradictory to the spirit of Article 9.
On the basis of this argument, we in Hiroshima, do request a sincere apology from the US President Mr. Barack Obama and the Japanese Prime Minister Mr. Abe Shinzo to the victims of the various grave war crimes that both nations committed respectively during the Asia-Pacific War. These include the indiscriminate atomic and fire bombings of many Japanese cities, the massacre of many citizens in the Asia Pacific, and the sexual violence against women. We request both Mr. Obama and Mr. Abe to acknowledge the responsibility of their individual nations, and swiftly formulate policies of indemnity for the surviving victims.
Kuno Naruaki, Tanaka Yuki, Yokohara Yukio
on behalf of the following 387 individuals and eight civil groups:
稲垣康夫 いさじ章子 松元保昭 宗友正利 長瀬未代子 森一女 菅原佐喜雄 金野奉晴 船井汎彦 池辺幸惠 高田健 高橋京子 北村めぐみ 木村紀子 木村紀子 木村逸己 皿海達哉 矢野秀喜 加藤陽祐 服部救 小川玲子 ゲルマー・アンドレア 増田千代子 秋山史 野副逹司 崎山比早子 星川まり 労働者共闘（団体賛同） 上田三起 永野浩二 塚本知子 小倉志郎 駒込武 大住元美登里 レア眞由美 常住良保 坂博文 相沢緑 瀬川嘉之 浅井桐子 山邊悠喜子 石岡洋子 星美智子 くまがいマキ 井野勝行 井野文 井野麻子 井野菜央子 井野孝太朗 井野千代子 井野貴仁 井野由紀子 井野遥斗 井野都希也 吉田明子 匿名希望者４名 吉田薫 吉田敏子 吉田伸枝 吉田央 東條昭子 間宮智子 服部尚美 山田一志 森田眞理 みどり宮城 深田和秀 山本恵子 安齋徹雄 本田孝雄 山本進 日笠ゆりか 石丸初美 石丸陽一 藤井理嘉 石田きよみ 小野国雄 日笠たえこ 日笠健治 日笠雄介 日笠のりこ 山本久 角田亮子 山内正実 辻秀香 竹沢まさこ 矢ヶ崎克馬 小林栄子 一谷智子 高橋弘明 八尋きよ子 さんし 村井完江 今井久美子 守田敏也 浦田賢治 湯浅正恵 松岡由美子 ＺＥＮＫＯ（平和と民主主義をめざす全国交歓会）・広島（団体賛同） 中村由美 手塚建二 五味智英 栗本昭 中島一男 片柳静子 石岡洋子 菅原龍憲 日韓民衆連帯全国ネットワーク（団体賛同） ８・6ヒロシマ平和へのつどい実行委員会（団体賛同） 東北アジア情報センター（団体賛同） 教科書問題を考える市民ネットワーク・ひろしま（団体賛同） 山川滋 岡田健一郎 高瀬正徳 吉田悟郎 「不戦へのネットワーク」（団体賛同） 鈴木博子 ヴェール・ウルリケ 藤原浩修 三浦恒紀 根本仁 大丸光子 橋本建八郎 仲内節子 鈴木トミ子 鈴木敏督 横繁隆夫 本間登志雄 宮本直実 坂本幸子 岩橋弘子 林大山 小谷野京子 井上陽子 青木一由 亀岡惠子 三木照男 竹山克則 常木冨喜子 比賀江道子 今徳芳子 斉藤純子 宇田川幸子 押田トミ子 大橋邦夫 津田ノリ子 木村民世 光武厚子 西野誠 富永辰男 大庭千世子 上田裕子 石川良宣 上田昭子 福田たかし 沼舘千佳子 一瀬敬一郎 和田千代子 江口昌子 中本昌年 竹内康人 木村厚子 竹本和義 中西綾子 下田濟二郎 澤野重男 目良誠二郎 山口響 野中末雄 のむらともゆき 新孝一 天野恵一 鶴文乃 木村雅英 長田満江 江川靖子 沢田正 仲村渠政彦 藤岡正雄 光本敏子 有村文江 木津博充 武田隆雄 江上彰 池田寛信 黒川眞一 平賀伸一 山本みはぎ 不戦へのネットワーク（団体賛同） 青原さとし 二宮公子 石岡真由海 新田栄 大久保浩 大久保泰子 河合知義 小林久公 森本道人 浅川泰生 舟橋喜惠 野村修身 難波郁江 倉橋哲生 倉橋綾子 石山博 斉藤貴男 中島俊江 白田真紀 佐藤千代子 今村年伸 今村典子 佐々木真紀 瀬尾徹志 福島博子 中島暁 川原洋子 須田稔・弘子 むらき数子 石井明美 佐藤茂伸 中島まり 英髙桑武子 中村あけみ 谷野隆 佐々木孝 木原省治 斎藤義子 白砂やす子 鳥羽みさを 野村洋子 尾沢孝司 小倉雅昭 山岸康男 尾澤邦子 森田奈美 金子恵子 高橋直己 今田裕作 大谷健造 瀬尾徹志 山口啓 藤野龍一 梶村道子 豊島幸一郎 釈正意 中井正幸 高田文章 浅田明 浅井健治 伊藤正子 二瓶一夫 山岡晶子 堀口眞也 柳井みのり 柴田もゆる 光永サチ子 井前弘幸 高木裕子 柳時京 遠藤竜太 近藤奎治 いとうたけひこ 古橋雅夫 戸田志香 宮崎誠二郎 松井雅子 山田修 伊藤一幸 木村厚子 小武正教 新田秀樹 末永恵子 笠原眞弓 阿部博紀 阿部太郎 コリン・コバヤシ 丸浜江里子 竹内良男 豊永恵三郎 飯森伸哉 吉田収 岡嵜啓子 難波健治 磯貝治良 さとうしゅういち 根津公子 川本正晴 渡辺健樹 上羽場隆弘 斉藤日出治 織田勝也 服部綾乃 高橋信 横田嘉夫 水澤壽郎 松村高夫 上田道夫 太田昌国 五十嵐守 田島隆 土屋信三 吉川徹忍 國光幸子 國光了 下井田カズエ 黒田貴子 李昤京 実国義範 繁山達郎 桜井大子 池田正彦 半沢里史 吉田正裕 向井均 井上豊 畑中敏之 山本直美 林辰也 齋藤郁夫 中嶋直子 佐々木有美 郡島恒昭 中村薫 佐藤茂美 黒田貴子 國本悦郎 三浦真智 山邊一哉 小川清 山下けいき 佐藤大介 原京子 西端順子 城山大賢 時津彩子 大杉清 姜有司 有賀精一 簑口季代子 安東善博 寺島洋一 殿平善彦 日南田成志 常石登志子 川崎直美 埴野謙二 柳田健 片桐悦子 長田順子 長田新一 長友明子 田中徹 佐々木力 梶村太一郎 石川逸子 神谷扶左子 金信明 河野通威 岸本伸三 吾郷健二 橋野高明 渡辺亨 仲宗根勇 菱木通剛 林衛 田島義夫 宮野和徳 宮野由美子 山下一夫 平岡敬 河野康弘 国富建治 奥村弘 伊藤（鹿子木）眞理子 村上啓子 三輪力也 西岡由紀夫 多賀俊介 清田勝成 長谷川澄 寺尾光身 堀伸夫 落合栄一郎 安藤かがり 酒井泰幸 岡原美知子 高橋博子 藤澤宜史 梶野宏 乗松聡子 竹原陽子
Kuno Naruaki, Tanaka Yuki, Yokohara Yukio
1-5-5-1001, Sakai-Machi, Naka-Ku, Hiroshima City