Greenpeace calls out Obama’s double standards for a nuclear-free world at Hiroshima visit

Press release - 27 May, 2016
Tokyo, 26 May 2016 - Greenpeace welcomes President Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima just after the G7 meeting - the first ever visit by a sitting U.S. president - but condemns his double-standards as his administration works to expand the U.S.’ own nuclear capabilities.

“We welcome President Obama’s attempt to understand the miseries of nuclear warfare, but this visit rings hollow without far bolder efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. If the U.S. wants to help build a peaceful world, it is not enough to only visit the ruins of the past,” said Hisayo Takada, Deputy Program Director at Greenpeace Japan.

“The U.S. administration recently sent to Congress a budget that would invest nearly US$1 trillion in updating and expanding U.S. nuclear weapons capacities, while also cutting funding for nonproliferation efforts. This is wholly unacceptable for a Nobel Peace laureate.” [1]

The U.S. must also address the issue of its military base in Okinawa, which is an ongoing problem with local people, particularly when military personnel are involved in serious crimes.

“The military base in Henoko is a relic of past conflicts and its expansion ignores the wishes of 80% of local people,” said Takada. “It threatens people’s local environment, including the home of 262 rare species such as the endangered Japanese dugong.

“Building a new air base in Okinawa is not the way to ensure a peaceful future in east Asia. The governments of the U.S. and Japan need to listen to the voices of the Okinawan people to find solutions for long term peace.The plan for a new base should be cancelled.”

The U.S. still has 4,700 operational nuclear warheads, according to the Federation of American Scientists, and continues to spend a fortune maintaining and modernising its arsenal. The U.S. is not the only one; over 40 years after the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, nuclear-armed states are still clinging to their arsenals.

Greenpeace believes that the battle to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons – the first campaign Greenpeace ever engaged in – is as urgent as ever and that we cannot  rest until we eliminate nuclear weapons from the world.

Note to editors:

[1] The Obama administration has indicated that the US government would spend over US$1 trillion over the next few decades to “modernise” its nuclear weapons program: ‘U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms’, The New York Times

[2] Number of US operational nuclear warheads, as estimated by the Federation of American Scientists - here

Media contacts:

Greenpeace International Press Desk, , phone: +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

Yuki Sekimoto, Head of Press and Communications at Greenpeace Japan, +81 80 5088 3048

Hisayo Takada, Deputy Programme Director at Greenpeace Japan, +81 80 6647 8503