- Summer camp for 1 percenters: Sushi, limos and shopping at FAO Schwarz
- Colorado gun crackdown law found to be built on faulty data
- Hank Aaron steps to fundraising plate for Democrat Michelle Nunn
- ISIL terrorists blow up burial site of Jonah, vow more of same
- Impeach Obama, say 35 percent in new poll
- Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road
- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
Hiroshima governor voices concern about Iran’s nuclear program
Question of the Day
On North Korea, whose nuclear weapons have been the focus of international troubleshooting, Mr. Yuzaki said world leaders have no choice but to engage in “patient negotiations.”
The 46-year-old former entrepreneur governs the Japanese province whose capital city was decimated when the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb near the end of World War II.
Today, nuclear disarmament is the centerpiece of Mr. Yuzaki's “Hiroshima for Global Peace” initiative, which brings people from conflict-ridden countries like Afghanistan to Hiroshima to learn conflict resolution. Hiroshima’s scarred history uniquely positions it to lead such an effort, he says.
“Hirsohima is known as a place of tragedy, but when you come to Hirsohima, many people are astonished at the beauty and prosperity of the modern Hiroshima city, which recovered really from ashes,” he said, adding that visitors from conflict zones have been inspired to replicate Hiroshima’s example at home.
The U.S. dropped an atomic bomb over the center of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, three days before it detonated a second over Nagasaki. The blasts killed more than 200,000 Japanese, and the residents of both cities suffered decades of radiation-related illnesses.
Mr. Yuzaki said he rejects the argument that the bombs prevented a bloodier ground invasion.
“I don’t understand it because other historical facts show that the Japanese government would have surrendered anyways,” he said. “I don’t think the lives of many more American soldiers would have been lost if they hadn’t dropped the bombs.”
Since March, his country has been dealing with the aftermath of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor meltdown that then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan called the “biggest crisis for Japan since World War II.”
About 22,000 Japanese have been listed as dead or missing since the disasters, and recovery-and-reconstruction efforts continue.
“It’s slow, and we are very much frustrated,” Mr. Yuzaki said, adding that local governments “feel direct voices from citizens who want to help” but cannot due to bureacracy.
The tsunami, which precipitated a meltdown at the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant, sparked a worldwide debate about the safety of nuclear power. Germany responded to the disaster by announcing it will end its use of nuclear energy by 2022.
Mr. Yuzaki said it is not feasible for Japan, which derives some 30 percent of its electricity needs from 54 nuclear reactors, to follow Germany’s lead in the short term.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ben Birnbaum is a reporter covering foreign affairs for The Washington Times. Prior to joining The Times, Birnbaum worked as a reporter-researcher at the New Republic. A Boston-area native, he graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a degree in government and psychology. He won multiple collegiate journalism awards for his articles and columns in the Cornell Daily Sun.
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- PRUDEN: The Democratic-wannabe mice under Hillary Clinton's feet
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Norway expects imminent 'concrete threat' from ISIL terrorists 'within days'
- Obama takes aim at 'corporate deserters'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq