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"Brilliance without conscience"

August 7, 2012
Yoroku: Morality crucial in dealing with nuclear power




In 1948, three years after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, U.S. Army Commander Omar Bradley said, "The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants."

Nuclear bombs kill tens of thousands of people in one moment, causing long-term emotional and physical suffering for victims and their descendents. Since turning a blind eye to this absurdity, the world has gone without reversing this deranged morality for years.

Aug. 6, 2012, marks the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

The error of believing that mankind can contain nuclear power is perhaps not caused by any scientific faults, but by the absence of morality. The late anti-nuclear scientist Jinzaburo Takagi warned that the kind of moral restraints necessary to prevent nuclear accidents would not come naturally to scientists accustomed to making calculations on computers, which can later be fixed.

Last year, in commemorating not only the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the heels of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, calls for the abolishment of nuclear weapons and the elimination of our dependence on nuclear power intensified. It was an opportunity for Japan to take a close look at its conscience and morals, and ask: what is the stance that the only nation to have experienced atomic bombing, and one of the most quake-prone countries in the world, should take against nuclear weapons and energy?

A year has since passed. The current administration has sped along on the path of nuclear reactor restarts, as if the Fukushima disaster never happened. There no longer is any excitement around U.S. President Barack Obama's push for a "world without nuclear weapons" that he called for in a speech three years ago. The morals of politics must have been full of holes from the very beginning.

There's only one truth that we can arrive at from Bradley's remorseful statement. It is that nuclear weapons and nuclear power are too dangerous to entrust to "brilliance without conscience" and "ethical infants." ("Yoroku," a front-page column in the Mainichi Shimbun)



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