NAGASAKI – Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito called Wednesday on the United States and North Korea to move toward nuclear abolishment to help fend off a collapse of the global nuclear nonproliferation regime.
“Voices of anger and frustration are echoing throughout the city,” Ito said. “The time has come for those nations that rely on the force of nuclear arms to respectfully heed the voices of peace-loving people, not least the atomic bomb survivors.”
The speech was delivered as part of the Peace Declaration for the 61st anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki in World War II that ultimately claimed the lives of an estimated 70,000 people by the end of 1945.
Among those in attendance at the ceremony were Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and government delegates from seven countries, including Russia.
With some 30,000 nuclear weapons “ready to annihilate humanity,” Ito expressed concern over seeing “no progress” in disarmament since the Review Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in May 2005 ended without result.
His criticism was directed especially at the U.S., which agreed on a landmark civilian nuclear cooperation pact with India in March, even though India has stayed out of the NPT regime and conducted nuclear tests in 1998.
“The nuclear weapon states have not demonstrated sincerity in their efforts at disarmament; the United States of America in particular has issued a tacit approval of nuclear weapons development by India,” Ito said.
Under the NPT, nations with nuclear arms are banned from transferring atomic weapons or nuclear technology to any nonnuclear weapons state.
Ito also cited North Korea as “threatening the peace and security” of Japan and the world.
“The very structure of nonproliferation is facing a crisis,” Ito said, also referring to Pakistan, a declared nuclear power, Israel, widely considered to possess nuclear arms, and Iran, whose nuclear enrichment activities are a source of global concern.
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