Letter to Under Secretary of Stater Gottemoeller Regarding President's Visit to Hiroshima, May 26, 2016
May 6, 2016
The Honorable Rose Gottemoeller
Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Ms. Gottemoeller,
You may remember that we met last August in Japan on the occasion of 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I was there in my capacity as Chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami graciously hosted a meeting at his residence in Nagasaki in which the dangers posed by nuclear weapons were discussed as well as the need to work together to promote nuclear disarmament. In that meeting, you had mentioned that you would encourage President Barack Obama to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I am pleased to hear that such a visit is now being planned in conjunction with the President's participation in the G-7 Summit to be held in Japan May 26-27.
In preparation for the President's trip to Japan, I wanted to share with you a letter and a statement I received from Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan (CBCJ). The letter from CBCJ's Secretary General expresses the hope that President Obama's message at Hiroshima "will move the hearts of leaders of the world and numerous people who desire nuclear abolition." The CBCJ statement expresses concern over changes in interpretation of Japan's security laws relating to militarization and the use of force. The Church in Japan, having deep remorse for Japan's actions in World War II and having experienced the suffering caused by nuclear weapons, remains committed to its mission to work for peace. I have also enclosed the statement that the Japanese bishops issued last year to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings.
I trust these documents may prove useful as you assist in preparing the Secretary of State and the President for this momentous visit to Hiroshima.
Most Reverend Oscar Cantú
Bishop of Las Cruces
Chair, Committee on International Justice and Peace
April 2016 Letter from Secretary General, CBCJ
April 2016 Statement of Standing Committee, CBCJ
February 2015 Statement of CBCJ "70 Years after the War"