Hiroshima, Nagasaki mayors, abductees’ kin decry North Korea’s nuclear test


Mayors of the only two cities ever attacked with atomic weapons, survivors of the explosions in 1945 and relatives of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents blasted Pyongyang on Tuesday for conducting its third nuclear test despite strong international calls not to do so.

“This is an insult that tramples upon the feelings of (people in) atom-bombed areas desiring a world without nuclear weapons,” Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue said in a statement, calling the action a “threat to global peace and security.”

Taue told reporters in Tokyo that the “use of a nuclear test as a tool for international negotiations is totally unacceptable.”

Taue and Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui both sent protest letters to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In his letter, Matsui said he is “deeply concerned” that the nuclear test will give “an excuse for other nuclear powers and countries wishing to have nuclear weapons to accelerate their nuclear development.”

Hibakusha also expressed their frustration.

Masaaki Tanabe, a filmmaker who survived the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima at the end of World War II, called North Korea’s nuclear test an “outrageous and unforgivable act.”

Tanabe, 75, who said the memory of the atomic bombing remains vivid for him, voiced disappointment over waning global fear of nuclear weapons.

Sunao Tsuboi, director of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-Bomb Sufferers Organization, said: “I want North Korea to understand that the use of force will never lead to peace.”

Tsuboi, 87, visited Pyongyang in 1999 to hold an exhibit detailing the tragic consequences of the atomic bombing, but was surprised to have a North Korean official manipulate the exhibit, using it instead to demonstrate to visitors the extent of U.S. brutality.

Following the test, the counter on the “peace clock” monument installed at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was reset to zero. The clock shows the number of days since the last nuclear test.

Meanwhile, anger and concerns about the nuclear test’s repercussions on the long-stalled abduction issue sparked concern among Japanese abductees’ kin.

“I am concerned that the resolution of the abduction issue will be delayed further,” said Shigeo Iizuka, the 74-year-old head of the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea.