THE LEADERS of the G7, meeting in Hiroshima, have failed to come up with any concrete proposals that would take forward their stated goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

With the danger of nuclear conflict at its highest level since the Cold War due to the threatening nuclear rhetoric of Russia and North Korea, Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, chose to host the summit in the first city ever to be attacked with a nuclear weapon in order to put nuclear disarmament high on the agenda.

The leaders started the day with a visit to Hiroshima peace memorial park and museum where they met a survivor of the atomic bombing in 1945.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) welcomed the meeting, but said that the leaders appear not to have listened to what the survivors – whose average age is now nearly 85, want – real progress towards the elimination of nuclear weapons in their lifetimes.

The leaders’ statement, made yesterday, failed to present a credible alternative vision involving new steps to actual disarmament, said ICAN. “The G7 leaders urge all states ‘to take their responsibilities seriously’ but they are evading their own responsibility for the current threat nuclear weapons pose to everyone. They say nuclear weapons should only serve ‘defensive purposes’, but these weapons are indiscriminate and disproportionate, designed as they are to kill and injure on a massive scale, so under international humanitarian law cannot be used for defensive purposes.”

The three nuclear-armed states in the G7 are spending billions on modernising their nuclear capabilities. Today’s statement calls on all nuclear-armed states to release data on their arsenals and continue to reduce their size, yet not all G7 countries are transparent about the number of weapons they have, or that they host them on their territory; while some of them are increasing their stockpiles.

The G7 praised Prime Minister Kishida’s “Hiroshima Action Plan”, but ICAN says  this is a rehash of old non-proliferation measures that do not reflect the urgency of the moment and do not go nearly far enough. Ukraine’s President Zelensky is now expected to fly  in to the summit on Sunday, underlining the urgency presented by the acute nuclear threat.

ICAN emphasised the need for the G7 to meet the security challenges the world is facing through a concrete, actionable plan to engage all nuclear-armed states in disarmament talks under the international legal framework established by the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Daniel Högsta, ICAN’s interim Executive Director, said: “This is more than a missed moment. With the world facing the stark risk nuclear weapons could be used for the first time since Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed, this is a gross failure of global leadership.

“Simply pointing fingers at Russia, China and North Korea is insufficient. We need the G7 countries, which all either possess, host or endorse the use of nuclear weapons, to step up and engage the other nuclear powers in disarmament talks if we are to reach their professed goal of a world without nuclear weapons”.

Akira Kawasaki of ICAN partner, Peace Boat, added: “Japanese citizens and particularly the survivors of the atomic bomb attacks have been let down by Prime Minister Kishida – by hosting the summit in Hiroshima he raised expectations but has not delivered any substantive progress on getting rid of nuclear weapons.”

* Source: ICAN