Leaders from the G7 nations (Canada, France, United Kingdom, United States, Japan, Germany, and Italy) are gathered this weekend in Hiroshima; the location was chosen deliberately by Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to express Japan’s commitment to peace and its opposition to nuclear weapons.
In preparation for the summit, Pax Christi USA Executive Director Johnny Zokovitch and Bishop President John Stowe, plus other Pax Christi leaders in the U.S., joined others from Pax Christi sections around the world in signing a letter from Pax Christi International to Prime Minister Kishida, commending him on choosing Hiroshima as the venue for the summit and encouraging him in his use of the summit to urge the G7 leaders to address the continuing threat to the world posed by nuclear weapons.
The letter points out that the G7 summit is a strategic opportunity for leaders to build on previous declarations, particularly those made at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in August 2022, and reminds them of Pope Francis’ declaration in Hiroshima in 2019 that not only is the use of nuclear weapons immoral but also the very possession of them.
- Pax Christi leaders from around the world have endorsed “Nuclear Taboo: From norm to law – A Declaration of Public Conscience”
- Archbishops Etienne, Wester issue letter with bishops of Hiroshima, Nagasaki to urge nuclear disarmament
In addition to ensuring the G7 leaders meet with survivors of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, Prime Minister Kishida was asked to ensure that the G7 leaders:
- Resolve to adopt collective, verifiable steps to reduce nuclear arsenals;
- Cooperate with states-parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in providing victim assistance and environmental remediation for people harmed by nuclear weapons;
- Agree to set and pursue a common deadline for the elimination of all nuclear arsenals.
Nuclear disarmament has been a key component of Pax Christi’s work for decades, at the international and national levels. We are hopeful that this visit to Hiroshima will provide a meaningful step forward towards nuclear disarmament.
The return of U.S. nuclear weapons to the UK
Our colleagues with Pax Christi England and Wales will join the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) on Saturday May 20 at the entrance to the RAF base Lakenheath in Suffolk to demonstrate against the return of U.S. nuclear weapons to UK soil. It was after persistent campaigning that U.S. weapons were removed from the UK in 2008. As Pax Christi England and Wales writes, “[The] return [of the U.S. nuclear weapons] would be an escalation … in Europe – a dangerous step against the background of the war in Ukraine and the threat of the use of nuclear weapons that comes with it.”