Double standards on the nuclear disaster will make Japan bear the cross of crime and punishment forever
Published: Apr 18, 2023 05:59 PM
Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Japanese media recently reported that the Japanese government is arranging a meeting between the Group of Seven (G7) leaders and atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima in May during the G7 Hiroshima Summit, in an attempt to "build momentum toward ridding the world of nuclear weapons." This is particularly ridiculous at a time when Japan is riding roughshod over extensive international opposition to insist on releasing more than a million tonnes of nuclear-contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.

Since taking office, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has mentioned a nuclear-free world several times. On August 1, 2022, he attended the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and said that "we must ensure that Nagasaki remains the last place to suffer an atomic bombing." 

The G7 summit will be held in Hiroshima, and Kishida himself is elected from the Hiroshima 1st District. No wonder he is pushing "a nuclear-free world" in a high-profile manner. But at the same time, it should be noted that the goal of Kishida is to take advantage of one of the world's most sensitive and highest-level security issues to push Japan to "world leadership status." 

Besides, while the Japanese government is loudly promoting "a nuclear-free world," it is creating uncertainty around the world with its own nuclear problems. In dealing with the issue of Fukushima's nuclear-contaminated wastewater, Tokyo is not being impartial and is clearly displaying double standards.

How to deal with nuclear-contaminated wastewater is not only a scientific problem, but also a humanitarian problem. Japan needs to fulfill its responsibility to the outside world in an open and transparent manner. For a long time, Japan has touted itself as the only victim of nuclear weapons in the world. Taking advantage of the G7 summit, it is promoting "a nuclear-free world" in a high-profile manner, trying to place itself on a moral high ground.

However, as a country that is well aware of the impact of nuclear radiation on human health and the natural environment, and how many after-effects it can bring, Japan wants to simply dump the nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean and "radiate" it to neighboring countries, putting the public welfare and interests of the international community in jeopardy. 

This is a practice that violates the moral bottom line and lacks conscience, and no matter how much Japan packages itself, it cannot cover up. Japan only remembers its nuclear fears and suffering, but shamelessly spreads nuclear contamination worldwide. This selfish act will make Japan bear the cross of the crime and punishment forever.

Nuclear safety is a major issue that affects the fate of humanity and requires enhanced cooperation among all countries around the world. The large number of ordinary Japanese people who died as a result of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was indeed a tragedy. Japan's high-profile commemorations are understandable from the perspective of ensuring that future generations remember the brutality of war. 

Nevertheless, Japan has never reflected on why it came to suffer from the atomic bomb disaster, and is unwilling to acknowledge the irrefutable evidence of the Nanjing Massacre. Instead, it only complains about its own suffering.

The actions of the Japanese government in recent years have led to suspicions that it is trying to downplay its past aggression and portray itself as an innocent victim of war. The arrangement of a G7 meeting of atomic bomb survivors is a good example. It is alarming that Tokyo is reinforcing its sense of being a victim and then downplaying its sense of being an aggressor.

If Japan really wants to achieve "a nuclear-free world," it, first of all, should handle the nuclear-contaminated wastewater in an open, transparent, scientific and safe manner under international supervision. It should also face up to its aggression history and make self-reflection. Moreover, it's the US that has the key to opening the Pandora's box of the nuclear world. Can Japan strictly adhere to the three non-nuclear principles, and truly break away from the US "nuclear umbrella," encouraging the US to take the lead in abandoning nuclear weapons? 

The article is compiled by Global Times reporter Liu Zixuan based on an interview with Wang Guangtao, an associate research fellow at the Center for Japanese Studies of the Shanghai-based Fudan University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn