Peace Boat and ICAN at the G7 Summit in Hiroshima


G7 Hiroshima Summit field report - Leaders' statement disappoints, citizens move further ahead

Oct 5, 2023

During the G7 Hiroshima Summit between 19-21 May, heads of state and government from around the world visited the a-bombed city of Hiroshima, attracting media attention and raising public debate on nuclear weapons. Peace Boat, through its role as coordinator of the Nuclear Disarmament Working Group of the official engagement group Civil7 (C7), and in collaboration with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), advocated for the G7 Summit to be a forum for making substantial progress towards a nuclear-weapon-free world. During the summit, Peace Boat representatives Kawasaki Akira, Hatakeyama Sumiko and Matsumura Masumi were on the ground in Hiroshima, coordinating with local and international partners to amplify voices calling for real progress in nuclear disarmament, as well as other issues relevant to the Summit.

C7 evaluation of the G7 outcome document

On the first day of the summit, G7 leaders visited the Peace Park, toured the Peace Memorial Museum and met with Hibakusha, although with limited time. The following day, leaders of the eight invited countries and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed the theme of peace, issuing five statements and one communiqué including the G7 Leaders' Hiroshima Vision for Nuclear Disarmament. However, these documents contained neither a commitment to achieve nuclear abolition nor any statement that the use or threat of the use of nuclear weapons would not be tolerated; rather, they contained language justifying the possession of nuclear weapons. 

'A grave failure on the part of world leaders' - ICAN statement

ICAN immediately issued a statement in response to the G7 Leaders' Hiroshima Vision for Nuclear Disarmament and the Summit Declaration, issued on the first and second days respectively. The Hiroshima Vision stated "the continued non-use of nuclear weapons" and "maintaining the downward trend in the number of nuclear weapons", but mentioned neither a ban nor the abolition of nuclear weapons. ICAN criticised this outcome, for the Summit’s failure to deliver concrete progress on nuclear disarmament. A number of Hibakusha and Japanese NGOs also voiced their disappointment with the Hiroshima Vision.

C7 coordinators evaluating the G7 outcome documentC7 coordinators evaluating the G7 outcome document

Live broadcasts from the G7 site

Peace Boat broadcast two live programmes every day during the G7 Summit to report on discussions of the leaders and perspectives of A-bomb survivors and local citizens. The four-day Hiroshima Summit Action, held in cooperation with the Pal System and KNOW NUKES TOKYO, included not only commentary on the movements of the G7 Summit but also creative responses such as a chorus, dance and A-bombed piano performance.

The G7 Civil Society Coalition project "Live from Hiroshima! G7 Summit News" was also held online, to share local reports and actions on the respective themes discussed at the Summit, including not only nuclear abolition but also for example the environment and gender.

Live programmes from the G7 SummitLive broadcasting during the G7 Summit

Transmitting voices of Hibakusha, domestically and internationally

On the evening of May 19, a press conference was held with Hibakusha and young people from Hiroshima Prefecture. This was followed on May 21 by a press conference by Setsuko Thurlow, Hibakusha living in Canada and life-long advocate for nuclear abolition. Ms Thurlow did not hide her disappointment, saying, "I feel crushed to think that I came all the way to Hiroshima and could only write this much.”

Citizens' movement moves forward

The G7 Summit statement disappointed many Hibakusha and citizens. However, the fact that the leaders touched on some aspects of the reality of the atomic bombing and that the world paid attention to Hiroshima and the issue of nuclear weapons through many media reports will contribute to the future expansion of the movement. Collaboration with numerous domestic and international NGOs through the C7 was a major outcome, which will continue to expand in the future.

Sharing the voices of Hibakusha