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Hiroshima, Nagasaki mayors seek early abolition of nuclear weapons

JIJI

The mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki reiterated their calls Tuesday for international efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons.

“Even now, after a quarter of a century has passed since the end of the Cold War, there still exist more than 17,000 nuclear warheads around the world,” Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said.

“We are still living under the risk of destruction through nuclear weapons,” he told a meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference held at the U.N. headquarters in New York.

Describing nuclear weapons as “ultimate inhumane weapons and an absolute evil,” Matsui, who has set a goal of abolishing nuclear weapons by 2020, showed his resolve to help realize a convention banning such weapons.

Matsui underlined the need to accelerate efforts toward nuclear abolition, saying the average age of atomic bomb survivors is now over 78 years. The United States dropped atomic bombs on the two cities in August 1945.

Welcoming U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2009 speech in Prague calling for a world without nuclear weapons, Matsui said that Obama should “visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, see the reality of the atomic bombings for himself, and take a determined step toward nuclear weapons abolition from the atomic bombed sites to the world.”

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue told the meeting: “I am always disappointed that nuclear weapon states, and states under a nuclear umbrella, advocate a step-by-step approach, and deny a comprehensive one” for nuclear abolition.

He stressed that it is important to take steps aimed at making nuclear weapons illegal in international law in order to abolish them swiftly.