MIIS/MANPTS Alumnus Hideo Asano Strives to Join Forces for Nuclear Abolition

May 3, 2024
Masako Toki and Alyssa Ishimura

Hideo Asano at the inaugural symposium of the Japan Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Hideo Asano at the inaugural symposium of the Japan Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Hideo Asano, an alumnus of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS), who completed his MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies (MANPTS) in December 2023, is currently working with the “Japan Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons” as the Secretariat’s Staff. The Campaign, now having the status of “General Incorporated Association” in Japan, was established by the Japan NGO Network for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, a group of about 30 organizations and individuals. Hideo, along with other NGO members who advocate nuclear abolition, is preparing to strengthen this new group that was launched in April 2024.

Before coming to MIIS, Hideo earned his bachelor’s degree in International Liberal Arts at Soka University in Japan in 2019, and a master’s at Kobe University in Japan, majoring in political science. While he was a student at MIIS, he worked as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Nonproliferation Education Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, particularly, the Critical Issues Forum, to promote disarmament and nonproliferation education among high school students in the US and Japan. Hideo mentored high school students, including students from his alma mater, Soka Senior High School in Tokyo. He was also engaged in a research project led by an expert in the CNS Washington DC office, assessing how European countries perceive China’s accelerating nuclear development. Furthermore, during the summer, Hideo interned at the Nuclear Threat Initiative in Washington, D.C.

Hideo’s interest in, and passion for, nuclear abolition derives from the annual Peace Proposal by Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, the founder of the Soka School System, which he attended from high school until the undergraduate level. After reading the Peace Proposal, he decided to study nuclear issues and contribute to nuclear disarmament. He has visited both Hiroshima and Nagasaki including both cities’ atomic bomb museums where he vowed that “history should not be repeated.” Hideo also became more aware of other victims of nuclear weapons, as well as their testing and production processes.

While he was a graduate student at MIIS, he participated in the 2022 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference, and the Second Meeting of States Parties of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. His participation in the Nonproliferation Treaty Simulation, taught by Dr. William Potter, CNS’ Founding Director and Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies at MIIS, also honed his diplomatic skills in the field of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, and deepened his knowledge about the NPT Review Process.

In addition to his studies for MANPTS, his participation in international nuclear conferences contributed to his career path in nuclear disarmament through furthering collaboration with Japan’s civil society members to establish this new group.

To celebrate the launch of this new group to promote nuclear abolition, he and other civil society members organized an inaugural symposium in Tokyo on April 20th. This event was covered by Japan’s major media outlets.

This new group titled, “The Japan Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons” is aiming to persuade the Japanese government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) by the year 2030. Hideo was one of panelists along with other well-known nuclear disarmament activists in Japan. Furthermore, Setsuko Thurlow, one of the most vocal atomic bomb survivors (hibakusha) from Hiroshima, and Izumi Nakamitsu, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, sent a video message of encouragement.

Hideo believes that it is important to have more serious and engaging discussions on how each citizen can continue to create momentum in supporting TPNW to have more impact on the government. His goal is to have Japan join TPNW and lead a world without nuclear weapons through concerted efforts among civil society.

“My studies at MIIS NPTS enabled me to build a foundation for understanding nuclear weapons issues, particularly how decision-makers think about nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament within a government and in international fora. My work experience as a Graduate Research Assistant at CNS also helped me realize the significance of promoting nuclear disarmament education, which is why I am very passionate about my current work to raise awareness of nuclear weapons issues among the Japanese public.”—Hideo Asano MANPTS 2023

Hideo with other panelists at the inaugural symposium

Hideo with other panelists at the inaugural symposium

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