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Protest letter against the US announcement of intention to carry out subcritical nuclear test (April 10, 1997)

April 10, 1997

The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton
The President
The White House
The United States of America

Letter of Protest

This past February, we wrote to you requesting a halt to subcritical nuclear testing. Presently, groups of hibakusha from Hiroshima and Nagasaki are in your country seeking nuclear disarmament and, in particular, the decommissioning of the nuclear testing facility in Nevada. Despite these requests, on the 4th of this month your country announced its intention to carry out in June at the Nevada test facility a subcritical nuclear test using plutonium. This announcement arouses distrust in the international community, increases the danger of nuclear proliferation, and robs momentum from efforts toward the abolition of nuclear weapons. As such, we hereby strongly protest.

This past July the International Court of Justice handed down an advisory opinion in which it declared that "The threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict," and, "There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament." In December the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for negotiations toward a treaty that would ban nuclear weapons entirely. The United States must recognize that the international community is striving to achieve a world free from nuclear weapons, and, based on this recognition, should immediately cancel the planned subcritical nuclear test.

We urge as strongly as possible that the United States of America take a leadership role in pursuing the abolition of nuclear weapons, that you live up to your obligation as a nuclear power to "pursue in good faith" nuclear disarmament, and contribute actively and positively to the peace and stability of our world.

Takashi Hiraoka
Mayor
The City of Hiroshima


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