Japanese civic groups protest against upcoming G7 summit in Hiroshima



Hundreds of Japanese citizens took to the streets in the Japanese city of Hiroshima over the weekend to protest against the upcoming Group of Seven (G7) summit.

Protests will also be held along the streets on Sunday, starting at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, a cenotaph where the United States dropped an atomic bomb at the end of World War II.

About 200 citizens carrying banners reading "No G7" and "No War" gathered in Hiroshima to protest against the G7 summit on Saturday as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited the city to inspect summit-related venues.

Shigeo Kimoto, director of the Japanese civic group Peace Depot, said in a speech that both joint military exercises among G7 members in the Pacific region and Japan's statement that "Taiwan contingency is a contingency for Japan" are "absurd and dangerous."

Japan, once a ruthless invader in Asian countries and regions, such as China and the Korean Peninsula, has deliberately concealed its ugly history as a perpetrator by repeatedly stressing that it is "the only country that suffered atomic bombings," historian Toshiyuki Tanaka said at Saturday's rally.

"Now Japan is politically using Hiroshima, the site of the atomic bombing, to hold the G7 summit. It is time for people in Hiroshima to wake up," said Tanaka, also an emeritus professor at Hiroshima City University.

The protests were launched by the executive committee of Citizen's Group Questioning the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, whose declaration was also released on Saturday.

According to the group's declaration, the G7 summit in Hiroshima seeks to advance military alliance under the name of freedom and democracy and the summit is essentially a meeting where the rich bloc forces other countries to follow its rules.

The G7 consists of the United States, Britain, Italy, France, Germany, Canada and Japan. This year's G7 leaders' summit will be chaired by Japan in Hiroshima from May 19-21.