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Nuclear deterrence has only raised risk of catastrophe

17 1 0

Hiroshima will observe the 75th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombing of the city on Aug. 6. Detonated by the United States, the bomb and its unprecedented destructiveness marked the beginning of the atomic age.

One symbol that serves as a yardstick of the terror brought by this age is the Doomsday Clock. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists sets this clock by using “midnight” as the time for a hypothetical global nuclear catastrophe.

The U.S.-based Bulletin has been announcing the time every January since 1947, two years after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In January this year, the clock showed “100 seconds to midnight”--the closest ever to the catastrophe.


Amid the growing precariousness of the global structures for nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, arms expansion is accelerating and increasingly involving cyber and space warfare.

With the United States and China now in their “new Cold War” state, some analysts say an era of a superpower arms race has returned.

Three-quarters of century after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we have even started hearing the expression “nuclear restoration.”

How should the world, including Japan, deal with this reality?

Predicting the exact nature of what constitutes a global threat is extremely difficult to begin with.

In 2020, this fact was driven home more forcefully than ever by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We were all made acutely aware of this invisible menace that crosses national borders and infects indiscriminately. But in the meantime, the Doomsday Clock has kept ticking inexorably, thanks to the existence of an unimaginable number of nuclear weapons.

The novel coronavirus will not immediately dissipate, even if........

© The Asahi Shimbun

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