Hiroshima Governor Calls for Nuclear Disarmament; Touts Initiative to Engage Leaders in Conflict Resolution

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Byline: Ben Birnbaum, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The governor of Hiroshima has a message for the leaders of Iran: Having nuclear weapons is not going to solve your problems.

But Hiroshima Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki also says the West needs to address the root causes of Iran's nuclear quest, which he called very concerning.

We need to create the conditions where Iran feels it's easier to stop their efforts, Mr. Yuzaki told The Washington Times.

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 said.

Hiroshima is known as a place of tragedy, but when you come to Hiroshima, 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 anyway, he said. I don't think the lives of many more American soldiers would have been lost if they hadn't dropped the bombs. …