Why the peaceful Japanese city of Hiroshima was selected to host the G7 summit

Fumio Kishida, the prime minister of Japan, wants to "send a strong statement" about the importance of a nuclear-weapons-free world.
Why the peaceful Japanese city of Hiroshima was selected to host the G7 summit
After the 1945 atomic bomb destroyed Hiroshima, just the Atomic Bomb Dome remained in the city's core.

Tokyo's Hiroshima - Hiroshima, Japan, which is hosting the Group of Seven summit this year, may not seem like the most natural location for a crucial conclave of world leaders.

This city on the southwest coast is essentially tranquil in comparison to Tokyo, the hub of political, economic, and cultural life in Japan.

It does not even make the top 10 Japanese metropolises in terms of population.

Hiroshima makes up for its lack of size or economic significance, however, with symbolism and its historical connection to a topic that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida finds particularly important.

By dropping the atomic bomb "Little Boy" on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the United States made the theory of nuclear warfare a horrifying reality and killed an estimated 140,000 people.

At Hiroshima, where the G7 leaders' conference will take place from Friday to Sunday, remnants of the nuclear explosion are still evident.

The Atomic Bomb Dome, a shell of the destroyed Hiroshima Prefectural Industry Promotion Hall, is located in the centre of the city and serves as a constant reminder of the deadly potential of nuclear bombs.

Being a steadfast opponent of nuclear weapons for many years, Kishida has expressed his wish to utilise the G7 summit to "send out a strong message" about the need to envision a future without them.

With nuclear proliferation and the threat of nuclear war appearing to be on the rise, Kishida, whose political base is in Hiroshima, confronts an uphill battle to make his vision a reality.

Since beginning its campaign in Ukraine, Russia has threatened to use nuclear weapons numerous times. Despite international sanctions and condemnation, North Korea's nuclear weapons programme is getting stronger.

There is also no sign that any of the other nuclear countries, including Israel, the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, and the United States, will give up their nuclear weapons anytime soon.

Expectations are low for any significant progress on reducing nuclear weapons, such as pledges by countries to reduce nuclear stockpiles or increase transparency about their arsenals, as the G7 summit is expected to be dominated by Russia's conflict in Ukraine and worries about China's increasing assertiveness.

Kishida will nonetheless have a potently symbolic platform in Hiroshima for his antinuclear message.

At the Peace Memorial Park created to remember the attack victims, Kishida is due to receive the G7 leaders, including US President Joe Biden, the only leader of a nation to ever employ nuclear weapons in conflict.

The G7 leaders are scheduled to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum over the weekend, where they will see graphic depictions of the blast's victims and injured, as well as meet hibakusha, or atomic bomb survivors, who are known in Japan.

In an interview with local media earlier this week, Kishida stated that "communicating the reality of the nuclear assault is crucial as a starting point for all nuclear disarmament efforts."