HIROSHIMA — Beneath cloudy skies August 6, Hiroshima marked the 52nd anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb with condemnations of a recent U.S. subcritical nuclear test and calls for a global ban on nuclear weapons, as the number of officially recognized victims has now surpassed 200,000.
Before an estimated crowd of 45,000, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, Hiroshima Mayor Takashi Hiraoka and other national and international dignitaries, along with relatives of the deceased, laid wreaths in front of the cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The ceremony both honors those who perished in the blast and offers prayers for world peace.
“We in Hiroshima are outraged that nuclear weapons have yet to be abolished and banished from the face of the Earth,” Hiraoka said, in reading the city’s annual peace declaration. Hiraoka called on the Japanese government for the first time to endeavor to create a security system that does not depend on the nuclear umbrella of any other country.
The U.S. was singled out for attack by Hiraoka for conducting the subcritical test at the beginning of July. In addition to the Hiroshima mayor, Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito and Okinawa Gov. Masahide Ota sent letters of protest to the U.S. following the test, saying it violated the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
On August 6, Hiraoka said the U.S. attitude toward the CTBT was “utterly devoid of wisdom.”
“On the one hand, the U.S. promises to reduce its stockpiles of nuclear weapons,” Hiraoka said. “On the other hand, it obstinately maintains its nuclear testing program.” The CTBT was signed in September 1996 in New York by 44 countries, including Japan and the U.S. Under the terms of the treaty, countries will put a halt to nuclear explosions, but both Hashimoto and Hiraoka said that just how they will do this remains unclear.