Though the admission received very little attention in and of itself, the US Energy Department conceded this week that it had indeed conducted a “subcritical” nuclear weapons test underground in Nevada last month.
The test was the first of the Obama Administration, and will likely spark further questions about the president’s much heralded “commitment” to disarmament. Yet in Japan, and particularly in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the idea of continued nuclear weapons testing, even in limited forms, is of far more serious concern.
“The experiment is a reversal from an international trend for a world without nuclear weapons. I feel extreme regret,” said Nagasaki’s mayor, Taue Tomihisa. Officials with the Nagasaki city government intend to send a formal letter of protest. Hiroshima’s mayor, Akiba Tadatoshi, is said to have already submitted such a letter.
Japanese officials also expressed anger at US Ambassador John Roos attending a memorial ceremony in Nagasaki for the 65th anniversary of the nuclear attack, just 11 days after the test took place. US officials say the test is “in line with Washington’s stance to maintain nuclear deterrence.”