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Protest letter against the US subcritical nuclear test (February 15, 2002)

February 15, 2002

His Excellency George W. Bush
The President
The United States of America

Letter of Protest

On February 14, the United States collaborated with the United Kingdom to conduct its 16th subcritical nuclear test at the underground test site in Nevada.

With the rest of the world working hard to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to abolish all such weapons as soon as possible, your subcritical nuclear testing and your apparent determination to cling to nuclear weapons on into the 21st century amount to a betrayal of the atomic bomb survivors and the vast majority around the world who want nothing more than the elimination of such weapons. Your unilateral abrogation of the ABM treaty and your failure to attend the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT show your disdain for these important international efforts, and I am outraged by these and the many other ways in which the US has obstructed nuclear disarmament.

I had hoped that the cruel tragedies wrought by the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had taught the human race a valuable lesson. However, confronted by the fact that the United States and the United Kingdom have chosen at this delicate time to conduct a joint subcritical nuclear test, I cannot escape the feeling that we are doomed to repeat the horrors of the nuclear explosions that took place nearly 60 years ago. Your actions are profoundly harmful to the worldwide system for controlling nuclear weapons and to the process of nuclear disarmament. I am gravely concerned that you are provoking nuclear proliferation and, on behalf of the people of Hiroshima, I vehemently protest.

The United States claims that its subcritical tests are required to ensure the reliability and safety of nuclear weapons and do not violate the CTBT because they involve no nuclear explosions. However, we have reason to believe that the tests are linked to the development of new nuclear weapons, and they certainly violate the spirit of the CTBT. The United States must begin listening conscientiously to the international community calling desperately for the abolition of nuclear weapons. You are obligated to work in good faith to implement your promise of an "unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals", adopted at the NPT Review Conference. On these grounds, we demand that you immediately halt all nuclear testing, including subcritical testing, and begin working sincerely to build a new world order free from nuclear weapons.

Tadatoshi Akiba
Mayor
The City of Hiroshima


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