Hiroshima, Japan (dpa) – Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas advocated nuclear disarmament during a visit to Hiroshima in Japan on Friday, but he also argued against a unilateral removal of nuclear weapons from Germany.
“There is no point in moving nuclear weapons from one country to another. If they are to disappear, then they should disappear everywhere,” he said, responding to demands even from his own party.
“As far as nuclear disarmament is concerned, we need above all agreements on a broad basis, not just in individual countries.”
Maas, who is in Japan for a G20 foreign ministers meeting, laid a wreath in Hiroshima for the tens of thousands of victims of the first atomic bomb. The minister also met survivors of the attack from 74 years ago and spoke to students in Hiroshima, where 1.2 million people now live today.
Hiroshima was almost completely destroyed by an atomic bomb that the United States dropped on August 6, 1945. As a result, approximately 140,000 people died by the end of 1945.
Three days later, the US dropped another one on Nagasaki. Another 70,000 people died there. Following both bombings, Japan surrendered to Allied powers, ending the Second World War.
Experts estimate that about 20 US nuclear bombs are still stored in Germany as part of the nuclear deterrence of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).