NAGASAKI (Kyodo) Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue appealed Monday for the world to work toward the elimination of nuclear weapons and for the central government to demonstrate its leadership on the issue on the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of his city.
In this year’s Peace Declaration during a ceremony in the city’s Peace Park attended by representatives of a record 32 countries, including for the first time nuclear weapons states Britain and France, Taue said people have the “responsibility to realize a world without the fear of nuclear weapons.”
The ceremony followed the first-ever visit to Nagasaki by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon last Thursday and was held three days after a ceremony to mark the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which was attended by a U.S. ambassador for the first time. The United States did not send a representative to Nagasaki.
The U.S. Embassy issued a comment after the memorial, saying Ambassador John Roos did not attend the service due to scheduling conflicts, but he hopes to attend the Nagasaki ceremony in the future.
The U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, killing an estimated 74,000 people in the immediate blast and its aftermath by the end of the year. The morning ceremony commenced with a choir performance by a group of atomic bomb survivors. People offered silent prayers at 11:02 a.m. and laid wreaths at the memorial as representatives of nuclear weapons states Russia and Pakistan, and de facto nuclear power Israel, also took part in the event.
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano, the first Asian head of the Vienna-based nuclear watchdog, was among the first-time attendees. Referring in the Peace Declaration to the world’s nuclear powers, which in May opposed setting a time frame for the abolition of nuclear weapons at the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference, Taue expressed deep concern regarding their “lack of sincere commitment.”
The mayor also expressed strong support for the Nuclear Weapons Convention, a new international treaty for a complete ban on atomic arms, saying the U.N. chief has also urged U.N. member states to consider it.
Taue criticized the central government over its handling of nuclear issues, referring to the recent start of talks on a civil nuclear cooperation deal with India, which has not signed the NPT.
“This means that a nation that has suffered atomic bombings itself is now severely weakening the NPT regime, which is beyond intolerable,” he said.
He also referred to the recent revelation of a secret Japan-U.S. nuclear pact that effectively left room for the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan, saying it has led to “profound distrust” of the government for turning the country’s three nonnuclear principles into a “mere formality.”
He urged the government to play a lead role in eliminating nuclear weapons.
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