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Hiroshima for Global Peace

Greetings by the Governor at 2021 Doomsday Clock Announcement Event

On January 27, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists held the online event to announce the 2021 time of the Doomsday Clock.

YUZAKI Hidehiko, Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture, delivered the message at the event.

About Doomsday Clock (The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)



Good morning ladies and gentleman, let me introduce myself. I am Hidehiko Yuzaki, governor of Hiroshima Prefecture.

It is my great pleasure to have this opportunity to deliver a few words to you all today. On this occasion, I would like to express my deep respect to President Rachel Branson, members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and all the distinguished guests at this event, for their efforts to cultivate the minds of people through this publication. The bulletin indeed plays an important strategic role in illustrating grave scientific and technological matters that threaten human society, including the challenges of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, as well as global climate change.

Despite nuclear abolition being the long-awaited wish of all A-bomb survivors, there are still more than 13,000 nuclear weapons in the world, with nuclear states continuing to modernize their nuclear forces. Moreover, nuclear disarmament continues to stagnate, further exacerbating global tensions. This is evident through the lapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty; the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, and Iran suspending its cooperation in several JCPOA requirements.

Under these circumstances, to encourage both nuclear and non-nuclear states to promote nuclear abolition with more urgency, I believe it is essential to discredit the enigmatic nuclear deterrence theory—the primary rationale for reliance on nuclear weapons.

To this end, Hiroshima Prefecture has been collaborating with peace research institutions worldwide, such as the SIPRI and Chatham House. From our research, we have concluded that nuclear deterrence theory has significant defects in the four following aspects.

First, nuclear deterrence theory is based on the assumption that states are rational entities, whose decision-makers make fully informed and logical choices. Second, given the currently unstable relationships between the United States and its allies, the effectiveness of extended nuclear deterrence is very uncertain. Third, the influence new technologies will have on international relations is unknown, particularly the vulnerability of defense systems to new weapons, such as hypersonic glide vehicles. And fourth, the development of low-yield nuclear weapons has blurred the boundary between conventional weapons and nuclear weapons.

In other words, nuclear deterrence theory is based on unverifiable assumptions, with technological innovation and geopolitical factors further bringing into question whether deterrence will continue to prevent nuclear war. In these circumstances, we must never allow ourselves to stop thinking critically, or to become complacent in our dependency on nuclear deterrence theory.

The nuclear deterrence theory—that is, the belief that attacks from enemies are preventable through the possession of nuclear weapons— is based on the cognitive framework of human beings—which means it is merely a fiction, shared and believed by people. It is not a scientific truth like the law of gravity. The law of gravity does not make mistakes, depend on emotions, or betray expectations. But, we humans do. And there is too much evidence and testimony that we DID make mistakes, depending on emotions and betraying expectations on the verge of nuclear attack, for us to continue relying our lives and the future of this planet on this theory.

Fortunately, since nuclear deterrence theory is a manmade fiction, it will lose its power if everybody stops believing it. The national security system relying on nuclear weapons can be changed, because nuclear deterrence theory is nothing more than a common myth, no matter how solid it may appear.

The disarmament agenda drawn up by UN Secretary-General António Guterres comprehensively describes the disarmament challenges that international society faces today, including those regarding nuclear weapons. In order to steadily fulfill this agenda, it is necessary to facilitate discussion, involving all UN member states, international organizations, and NGOs. Since every human on Earth is a stakeholder in this enduring issue, we need to generate powerful momentum toward the abolition of nuclear weapons by networking and invoking the engagement of as many people as possible.

Hiroshima will strive to help all UN member states agree to eliminate nuclear weapons as soon as possible and set their abolishment as a new target.

In order to delegitimize the nuclear deterrence theory and realize nuclear abolition as soon as possible, at least in the lifetime of the A-bomb survivors, we must remember Pope Francis’ words during his address in Hiroshima. He asserted that it is essential that we collect wisdom from all over the world and take collective action, involving all people and all countries.

So, let us share wisdom and take action now, before future generations resent us for our inaction and irresponsibility.

Thank you.


Event: 2021 Doomsday Clock Announcement

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