Letter from Tokyo: peace issues from a Japanese perspective

 Dear editors Thank you for your reminder of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but I'm more interested in the anti-Trident protests. The anniversaries of Hiroshima (6 August) and Nagasaki (9 August) are getting more and more ceremonial, especially since the end of the Cold War, when the threats of nuclear wars virtually vanished. The people of the two cities still demand the 'abolition' of nuclear arms, but this is hardly our national cause. Our government tacitly permits the US armed forces to position such weapons in their naval and air bases in our archipelago. The government is cooperating with the US in developing the Theatre Missile Defence program, which would cover the Far East, from far eastern Russia, through the Korean Peninsula, to the Taiwan Straits. And our country has dozens of nuclear plants, which the government is intent to increase. The byproduct, plutonium, is being reprocessed in the English and French plants. We have a staggering store of plutonium. With our technology Japan could be a nuclear power overnight. Some hawkish politicians are campaigning for Japan's own deterrence. Our Catholic Church has no Pax Christi-style activists. I'm afraid Japanese people do not know Pax Christi itself. AKT PS According to the Catholic calendar, 6 August is Transfiguration, and 9 August is now the feast of Edith Stein. The calendar maker is unconscious that, on 9 August 1945, thousands of Catholics died in Nagasaki as the bomb exploded just a few hundred metres above the Urakami Cathedral, which was located in the centre of Catholic quarters.

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