In Hiroshima, a G7 between « strong message » and « ball of the hypocrites »

Topics : Hiroshima, G7, Russia, Ukraine, Nuclear weapons, USA, France, UK,

In the martyr city, the red carpet is rolled out for the leaders of nuclear powers at a time when disarmament is in danger. The symbol leaves a bitter taste in the Japanese.

The symbol will be strong throughout the summit of the heads of state of the seven largest industrialized countries (G7) which opens this Friday and will be held until Sunday in Hiroshima. The martyred city – 140,000 dead during and following the atomic bombing of August 6, 1945 – rolls out the red carpet to the heads of state and government of seven countries, all of whom refuse to sign the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. And among these distinguished guests are three leaders of nuclear powers (the United States, the United Kingdom and France). Four, even, since the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is invited to this G7.

Not long ago, a demonstration hostile to the event took place in Hiroshima. The major popular daily Nikkan Gendai described the expected visit of these guests to the Memorial for Peace, which honors the memory of the victims of the A-bomb, as a “ball of the hypocrites”. And the anti-terrorist police arrested an individual who had threatened to “ blow up » the hotel where « the height of shame: to vomit » takes place.

An idealistic but realistic approach

For the Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida – originally and elected from Hiroshima – no other city can better invite the greats of this world to the absolute horror of nuclear weapons and the imperative need to work tirelessly for peace. This long-time supporter of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation dangles a « historic » summit, which will send to the entire planet « a strong message in favor of a world devoid of atomic weapons in the long term ».

The Japanese don’t believe it. More than six out of ten respondents say they do not expect any major progress in this area. Experts, too, are skeptical. Global geopolitical tensions are undermining momentum for disarmament. Fumio Kishida himself recognizes this. He pleads for « a pragmatic and realistic approach » to this file, which takes into account the tense context but does not give up the hoped-for pacifist ideal. Therefore, the summit’s final nuclear statement may not go down in history.

« Death fell from the sky »

No specific communication from Joe Biden is expected on the subject. It will hurt the approximately 120,000 Japanese who survived the atomic bombings, who are still alive, and who have mixed memories of the words that Barack Obama spoke during his historic visit to Hiroshima in 2016. They were strong (“The martyrdom of Hiroshima and Nagasaki must awaken our moral conscience ») but, at times, very elliptical (« 71 years ago, death fell from the sky and the world changed », the American bombers therefore not being mentioned).

Joe Biden will say no more. And, like Barack Obama seven years ago, he and the other members of the G7 will no doubt be on the run and away from the cameras at the Memorial Museum, where – often unsustainable way – the effects of the atomic bombing on human beings.

The Chinese neighbor at the heart of this Japanese G7

Since Tuesday, five Chinese Navy ships, including two missile destroyers, have been crossing in the immediate vicinity of Japanese islets claimed by Beijing. Tokyo has solemnly protested to the Chinese government against what it considers to be unacceptable intimidation. Also on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the Japanese presidency of the G7 of working, with its American ally, on a logic of « confrontations between rival blocs » dangerous for stability and world peace. In this respect, Beijing will particularly monitor the terms of the G7’s final communiqué on Taiwan, Xi Jinping considering that any allusion to this island in international forums is an interference in Chinese internal affairs.

Concerning this island file, the unity of the G7 is « total », assures Fumio Kishida. This is no longer self-evident since, last month, returning from China, Frenchman Emmanuel Macron stunned his allies by declaring that Europe did not have to follow the United States to the point of being caught « in crises that are not his own”. The Hiroshima G7 will be « not anti-Chinese », added the Elysée recently.

We seek a multidimensional approach to our economic relations with China. This approach is characterized by a reduction of risks and not a decoupling

Ursula von der Leyen , President of the European Commission

Joe Biden, as we know, advocates a clear “decoupling” with China. Its G7 partners refuse to go that far, concerned about their commercial ties with this country. « We are looking for a multidimensional approach to our economic relations with China », underlined, thus, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, specifying that « this approach is characterized by a reduction of risks and not a decoupling ». The G7 debates could therefore be delicate – and the drafting of the final press releases arduous – concerning, for example, the response to be given to Chinese “economic coercion” or the extent of the necessary distancing with this country concerning the chains of communication. procurement, of strategic materials (semiconductors, etc.) in particular.

Le Soir (Belium)

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