• Kyodo News


The mayors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima petitioned Prime Minister Taro Aso on Wednesday not to hold the general election on the Aug. 9 anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, amid speculation the poll will be held in August.

“Aug. 9 is the day for us to pray (for the victims of the blast) and an important day for us to campaign for the abolition of nuclear weapons,” Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue told reporters after meeting with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsuhito Asano at the prime minister’s office.

Taue quoted Asano as replying: “A decision on when to hold an election is the prime minister’s exclusive right and any specific schedule on the election has yet to be fixed, but I will convey your words (to Aso).”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura echoed Asano’s words, saying local voices will be taken into consideration but the prime minister will decide when it is the most appropriate timing to call the election.

Taue handed Asano a petition that he had signed together with Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, who was not present at the meeting.

The petition says Nagasaki citizens, including survivors of the blast, are concerned that the anniversary of the attack may be marred by the Lower House election, amid reports that the poll could take place on the day.

Aso this week decided to extend the current Diet session to July 28, fanning speculation that will dissolve the Lower House while it is in session and hold an election sometime in August.

In the meeting with Asano, Taue also asked the government to urge U.S. President Barack Obama to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

During an earlier visit to Washington, the two mayors sought the cooperation of U.S. government officials to realize a visit to their cities by Obama, who has said he aims to create a nuclear-free world.

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