Over 200 Japanese people rallied at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in a protest against the upcoming Group of Seven (G7) summit, carrying banners reading "No War Accomplices" and "No G7."
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"Japan is saying it will send a peaceful message of abolishing nuclear weapons to the world through this summit, but at the same time it is seeking to rely on nuclear weapons to achieve 'national security.' This is contradictory," said Ichiro Yuasa, a Peace Depot spokesperson.
Participant Fumi Akiyama said that Japan's use of Hiroshima, which had suffered the atomic bombing during World War II, to hold the G7 summit completely went against the good wishes of the people of Hiroshima to pray for peace.
The family of Yukio Nishioka witnessed the horrific U.S. atomic bombing in 1945. It is precisely because Nishioka has been exposed to the pain of war since childhood that he has a deep and clear understanding of Japan's war of aggression and its war responsibilities.
The Hiroshima citizen said at the rally, "The atomic bombing of Hiroshima should no longer be used politically, and the world should return to the track of peace."
"It is the wish for peace of all Hiroshima people that Japan should acknowledge its wartime atrocities against other countries, apologize and make compensation, learn the lessons of the war and prevent the tragedy from happening again," he added.
Just a few dozen meters away from the rally at the park, a cenotaph where an atomic bomb was dropped by the United States at the end of WWII, a small group of right-wing activists kept shouting through loudspeakers that "Japan should have nuclear weapons."
Hiroshima citizen Ryo Miyahara scoffed at them. "These people completely ignore history. The reason why Hiroshima was bombed is because Hiroshima used to be the 'military capital'," he said.
"If Japan does not stop its military expansion or even seeks to possess nuclear weapons, it will only lead Japan into a vicious cycle of war."
Miyahara also warned that the upcoming G7 summit, scheduled to be held in the city at the weekend, would be a meeting that will escalate the Ukraine crisis again, noting that NATO had backed Ukraine militarily and Japan intended to provide financial or military support to Ukraine.
"It will neither bring an end to the war nor bring peace. It will only make the world more miserable," he added.