30 July 2021

Message on the 76th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki

The entire world has been seriously ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic for more than a year now. According to the World Health Organization, in mid-July 2021 there were more than 186 million confirmed cases of persons infected with Covid-19, with over four million deaths worldwide. Even highly industrialized nations are among the worst hit by the pandemic although they have much better access to state-of-the-art vaccinations against this global pandemic than less wealthy countries. Regrettably, the international community still cannot ensure that Covid-19 medication and vaccines are accessible to the people based on needs, not just on market-driven factors. This, once again, affirms that although science is currently well advanced, available resources are not adequately allocated to the betterment of human health.

In my message of last year, I said COVID-19 proved that global military might and economic dominance did not necessarily ensure national stability and happiness, and that governments were to allocate more attention to the use of science and available resources to save lives and improve the standard of living of their peoples instead of excessively focusing on arming their countries with expensive arsenals. This is as true as ever. One great news this year – the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), or the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, adopted in 2017, has entered into force as of 22 January 2021. The TPNW is the first global multilateral agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons; it is also the first to include provisions to help address the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapon use and testing. But it has only 55 parties, none of which is a country in possession of or aspiring to possess nuclear weapons. Japan is not a party to the TPNW despite the fact that 76 years ago, in August 1945, the world witnessed the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians perishing instantly or consequently from nuclear radiation.

In the recently disclosed document entitled ‘Joint Nuclear Operations’ dated 17 April 2020, the US Department of Defense (DOD) has made a dire forecast that the possibility that nuclear weapons could be used in regional or global conflicts is growing. According to the DOD, since 2010 no nuclear weapons possessing country has reduced either the role of nuclear weapons in its national security strategy or the number of nuclear weapons it has. The DOD claims that the United States has continued to reduce the number and importance of nuclear weapons but the United States needs to pursue ‘flexible and limited US nuclear response options’ to play an important role in ‘restoring deterrence following limited adversary nuclear escalation’. In its March 2021 Interim National Security Strategic Guidance, the Biden Administration explains its policy to ‘address the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons’, ‘head off costly arms races’ and re-establish US credibility as a leader in arms control by extending existing arms control agreements and pursuing new ones as well as taking steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in US national security strategy, while ensuring US strategic deterrent remains safe, secure, and effective and that the United States’ extended deterrence commitments to its allies remain strong and credible. Honestly, there is nothing new to be cheerful about.

As evident from the Sata Foundation’s logo of the head of the statue of the Madonna of the Urakami Church in Nagasaki that was totally destroyed when the atomic bomb exploded some 500 metres away on 9 August 1945, we at the Sata Foundation are strongly opposed to weapons of mass destruction with indiscriminate effects on those not taking part in the war. This Madonna is a powerful symbol for humanitarianism, for a world living in peace with the proper use of science and technology as well as the allocation of scarce resources for the betterment of humankind. Indeed, His Holiness Pope Francis, during his visit to Nagasaki on 24 Nov 2019, rightly condemned the ‘unspeakable horror’ of nuclear weapons and urged world leaders to end the stockpiling of nuclear weapons because it offered their nations a false sense of security when millions of children and families live in inhumane conditions while money is squandered and fortunes are made through the manufacture, upgrading, maintenance and sale of ever more destructive weapons.

Let’s assume that one nation uses nuclear weapons to conquer its enemy. Would the victorious nation be ready, willing and have adequate resources to cure people in the defeated nation of diseases such as Covid-19, well feed and house them and keep them safe from all sorts of perils including the disastrous consequences of climate change? Definitely not!

We therefore need to have mutual compassion and understanding to live peaceably together in our society and in the international community. The Sata Foundation hereby reaffirms that we will continue to pursue our humanitarian and peace missions as best we can within our limited resources.

On 31 July 2021, the Sata Foundation organizes another Run for Peace Rally, held annually since 2005 except for last year due to COVID-19, in Chailly, Burgundy, France, with several hundred participating cyclists. The Rally not only pays tribute to the victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it also raises funds for the Sata Foundation’s mission and donates two euros (per registration) to the victims of the 2011 tsunami, which particularly affected the Tohoku region in Japan (https://sportsnconnect.lequipe.fr/calendrier-evenements/view/109/cyclosportive-courir-pour-la-paix).

Please join us in making our world a much better place to live. Your kind support for the Sata Foundation would be much appreciated.

Yasuhiko Sata
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Sata Foundation

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