The Hiroshima Report 2014 (PDF) can be downloaded from the following links:
--Report and Evaluations (in Japanese and English)
--Evaluation Sheet (in Japanese and English)
--Exective Summary (in Japanese and English)
The Hiroshima Report 2012 (PDF) can be downloaded from the following links:
--Report and Evaluations (in Japanese and English)
--Evaluation Sheet (in Japanese and English)

March 11, 2014

[Op-Ed] Takanori Mikami, "Significance of Ranking Countries for World without Nuclear Weapons"

Since August 6, 1945, Hiroshima's mission has been to educate the world about the cruelty and disaster caused by the use of atomic weapons. Hiroshima has been so successful in their mission that, after almost 70 years since the destruction, atomic weapons have never been used during war. As Nobel laureate and economist, Thomas Schelling, pointed out in his acceptance speech, Hiroshima's legacy has prevented atomic weapons from being used in the world.[1]

However, the surge of terrorist attacks has forced us to change this notion. Human beings may again suffer gigantic destruction and its lingering consequences. Graham Allison, who analyzed the Cuban missile crisis in his book, warned the world about the upcoming threat of nuclear terrorism. Allison is not alone; George P. Schultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger and Sam Nunn have also earnestly insisted that the world needs to be free from nuclear weapons facing emerging challenges posed by state and non-state actors.[2]

Regardless of Hiroshima's legacy, the development of information technology and the resulting access to information have made it easier for anybody to learn how to make nuclear weapons and, consequently, erode our ability to avoid catastrophe. Currently, the NPT regime itself is not in good shape. Further action is urgently needed. And the Hiroshima Report, in which 19 countries' performances on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and nuclear security are evaluated based on the objective data, would have a potential to play a role in promoting efforts toward a world without nuclear weapons. However, the Report needs to do more work, and I would propose a ranking of countries to be evaluated.

According to the Hiroshima Report, evaluation of the three areas (i.e. nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and nuclear security) for the three groups of countries (i.e. nuclear-weapon states, non-NPT parties, and non-nuclear-weapon states) was made separately because of their different characteristics as well as different set of criteria. However, such a way of evaluation, composed of nine categories, could make it less clear to identify which country can be evaluated positively and vice-versa, and then weakens the impact of the Report. My recommendation for the upcoming Hiroshima Report is to integrate three areas as well as three groups, and to rank countries evaluated under the headlines of decreasing the threat of nuclear weapons.

This would be a bold synthesis, but such integration and a ranking would give the Report explicit power to convey the message. All three areas relate to a grand purpose: decreasing the threat of nuclear weapons. Thus, a one-scale ranking would signify which country can be considered as the most well-deserved performer with regard to such a grand purpose. Introducing such ranking is an essential way to extend an influence of the Report.

Some may feel uncomfortable when they are ranked by others. Such unpleasantness of the study's evaluation and comparison for the countries should be taken into consideration, and the potential for backfires should be anticipated. Nonetheless, the benefit of communicating the predominant values in our society mandates that the ranking be carried out. One article points out that the act of ranking is a part of human instinct.[3] At the same time, ranking would be one of the valuable means for those who would like to spread what they consider significant and relevant, such as values and norms.

For instance, when Transparency International, an international NGO based in Germany, issues rankings on corruption throughout the world, its intention is to highlight and eliminate worldwide corruption. Another example is the effort made by the United Nation Development Program (UNDP) which created the human development index, with ranking countries on their efforts to improve citizens' social and economic development. If it had not been for goal that people should live humanely healthy, the result would not have been so controversial. Similarly, when institutions want to construct or understand a norm in the world, they take advantage of rankings. Rankings are one of the most powerful weapons to construct and convey common values in the world.

Nonetheless, the Hiroshima Report avoids compiling rankings for 19 countries involved in the study. One may conclude that the current version of the Hiroshima Report lacks concrete ideas on how to spread its messages to the world.

Another proposal is to use the Report to encourage discussion on promoting disarmament of nuclear weapons through, for example, convening a conference on August 6 when representatives of many countries all over the world gather in Hiroshima to participate in the Hiroshima Peace Ceremony. To date, a conference discussing nuclear issues with participation of those representatives as well as governors and mayors has not been held on that day.

The peace ceremony itself represents calm prayers for renewing their determination that the tragedy of the nuclear bombing shall never be repeated. However, the fact that there has never been a dynamic discussion on nuclear issues may give an impression to the participants of the Hiroshima Peace Ceremony that Hiroshima's desire on disarmament is insufficient. Furthermore, lack of opportunity to discuss the issue among representatives may weaken their perceptions on importance of nuclear disarmament. In fact, following the ceremony of 2013, a participant of a senior Israel governmental official posted critical comments in cyber space about the ceremony. If this participant had an opportunity to discuss the nuclear issue in Hiroshima, in other words, if he had actually participated in the ceremony, he may not have written such comments.

Hiroshima should convene a public and dynamic Hiroshima Peace Forum to energize and enhance Hiroshima's voice, with using a Hiroshima Report ranking. Let's think about the World Economic Forum in Davos. It utilizes some rankings to describe economic conditions in the world and has dynamic discussions based on those rankings. Why cannot Hiroshima have an influential forum likewise?

Although the Hiroshima Report 2010-2012 does not have such ranking, I would expect that the next version, or at least a future version, of the report would include the ranking. Perhaps, based on the resulting data as well as effective and workable discussion for the sake of nuclear disarmament, a raking will lead the ceremony to the Hiroshima Peace Forum.

Takanori Mikami, Professor, Hiroshima Shudo University

[1] Schelling, Thomas C. “An Astonishing Sixty Years: The Legacy of Hiroshima,” The American Economic Review, Vol. 96, No. 4, 2006.
[2] George P. Schultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger and Sam Nunn, "A World Free of Nuclear Weapons," The Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2007 and George P. Schultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger and Sam Nunn, "Toward A Nuclear Free World," The Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2008.
[3] Peter Campbell and Michael C. Desch, “Rank Irrelevance--How Academia Lost Its Way,” Foreign Affairs, Snapshot, September 15, 2013,

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