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Steven Leeper: "Japan saves the world"

April 13, 2014

Tokyo 2020 Olympics should be celebration of end to atomic arms, says U.S. activist




The Tokyo 2020 Olympics should be transformed into a festival celebrating an end to nuclear weapons worldwide, says Steven Leeper, former chair of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation and current Hiroshima Jogakuin University visiting professor.

Leeper, 66, has even released a book on that goal, titled, "2020-nen Tokyo Olympic: Nihon ga sekai o sukuu -- kaku nakusu best scenario" (The Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Japan saves the world -- a best-case scenario for the abolishment of nuclear weapons).

Originally from the United States -- a nuclear superpower -- Leeper told the Mainichi that former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton and current President Barack Obama have all wanted to rid the world of atomic weapons. However, he says, the influence of the nuclear weapons industry on Congress has meant that dream has never been transformed into reality.

Leeper said that Japan, as the only nation to have been subjected to nuclear attack, is the ideal leader in the campaign to rid the world of nuclear arms, likening the country's position to that of victims of drunk driving accidents and their families in the campaign to wipe out drinking and driving.

He also pointed out that nuclear materials don't just take the form of weapons, but also nuclear waste from reactors, adding that the number of people abroad worried about contamination from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster is likely a lot higher than most Japanese suspect.

Leeper furthermore said that countries maintain nuclear reactors at least in part as an insurance policy, in case they find themselves in a confrontation with a nuclear power and want to build a bomb to boost their power. Therefore, he said, the effort to abolish atomic weapons is directly connected to abandoning nuclear power.

April 13, 2014(Mainichi Japan)


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