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Hiroshima, Nagasaki differ on urging Japan to oppose nuke weapon use

Kyodo

Hiroshima and Nagasaki will adopt differing approaches in urging the government to join a group of countries endorsing a statement against the use of nuclear weapons in upcoming events to mark the 1945 atomic bombings, according to their mayors.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue said Wednesday he will condemn Tokyo for not endorsing the statement in his Aug. 9 peace declaration, but Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, whose declaration is slated for Aug. 6, said recently that his city will call on the central government to join a process toward endorsement.

At the April preparatory committee session for the next Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review meeting in Geneva, Japan did not endorse the statement demanding that atomic weapons never be used under any circumstances.

Tokyo’s stance “conflicts (with its interest) as a country that has experienced nuclear bombings,” Taue will say in the message to be read out in the city’s ceremony marking the 68th anniversary of the U.S. bombing, according to the text he outlined at a press conference.

The Nagasaki mayor will also express concern over a recent Japanese-Indian deal to restart talks on nuclear energy cooperation “as a matter that concerns the origin of the NPT,” he said.

His declaration “is designed to present an unshaken stance toward a nuclear weapons-free world, as the role of a nuclear-bombed city,” he said.

The gist of the declaration shows that Taue will also express hope in U.S. President Barack Obama’s willingness to reduce America’s nuclear arsenal, as well as support for areas hit by the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster that followed the March 11, 2011, mega-quake and tsunami.

Hiroshima Mayor Matsui said he will “present to the (central) government a process toward endorsing (the Geneva statement), telling it, ‘Let’s do it together.’ “

“It is regrettable that the Japanese government did not give its support, but we will keep on pursuing what should be done to have the momentum to (accomplish the goal),” he said, adding Hiroshima’s aspiration for peace is the same as Nagasaki’s, only its approach is different.