• Kyodo

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The governors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the mayor of Nagasaki and many other municipal officials protested Saturday over a U.S. subcritical nuclear test.

In a letter sent to U.S. President George W. Bush, Hiroshima Gov. Yuzan Fujita said he is angry that the United States conducted the test Friday despite repeated calls on it not to do so. He described the test as “a challenge to the international community.”

Fujita also criticized the Bush administration for not ruling out a possible nuclear attack against Iran and Iraq.

Nagasaki Gov. Genjiro Kaneko and Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito also sent similar protest messages to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

“It is a very dangerous act that could lead to a nuclear arms race,” Kaneko wrote in his letter.

“It is an offense to the international community, which is seeking nuclear disarmament, and it cannot be allowed,” said Ito, whose city, along with Hiroshima, was devastated by a U.S. nuclear bomb in World War II.

Other Japanese cities joined the chorus of anger. Kyoto Mayor Yorikane Masumoto and Toshiko Isobe, chairwoman of the city assembly, sent a protest letter to Bush calling on Washington to suspend all nuclear tests. It also called on Bush to play a leading role in bringing about the eradication of atomic weapons and establishing world peace.

Mayors of the cities of Sakai, Hirakata, Takatsuki and Suita in Osaka Prefecture also sent protest letters to the United States.

In Hiroshima, more than 80 people staged a sit-in against the U.S. nuclear test for about 30 minutes in front of the cenotaph for the atomic bombing victims at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

“It is a test directly linked to war, so it is very regrettable,” said Akito Suemune, 76, a survivor of the U.S. atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945.

The U.S. conducted its 17th subcritical nuclear experiment Friday at an underground test site in Nevada. The test was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but was postponed due to technical reasons.

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