HIROSHIMA – Below is the text of the speech delivered by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Thursday’s memorial ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the city’s atomic bombing.
Here today, at the opening of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing, I reverently express my sincere condolences to the souls of the great number of atomic bomb victims.
I also extend my deepest sympathy to those still suffering from the aftereffects of the atomic bomb even now.
Seventy years have passed since that morning. A single atomic bomb dropped here in Hiroshima deprived a tremendous number of people, numbering around 140,000, of their precious lives and turned the city into ruins. In this catastrophe, even those who narrowly escaped death suffered unspeakable hardships in the days to come.
Looking around the city of Hiroshima today, we see that this City of Water has undergone a robust restoration and transformed itself into an International City of Peace and Culture. This morning as we mark 70 years since the atomic bombing, I once more profoundly contemplate how precious peace is.
As the only country to have ever experienced the horror of nuclear devastation in war, Japan has an important mission of realizing a world free of nuclear weapons by steadily carrying out a succession of realistic and practical measures. We also have a duty to communicate far and wide the catastrophic humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, across generations and beyond national borders.
Especially, this year is the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings. Regrettably, a draft final document could not be adopted at the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, but Japan is determined to make even greater efforts toward realizing a world free of nuclear weapons as we continue to call for the cooperation of both nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states.
As an expression of that determination, the government of Japan will submit a new draft resolution on the total elimination of nuclear weapons at the United Nations General Assembly this autumn.
At the end of August, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Group of Eminent Persons meeting and the United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues will convene here in Hiroshima, as will the G-7 foreign ministers’ meeting next year. Through these international meetings, we will send out our thoughts powerfully from an atomic bombing site as a message to the international community.
Moreover, through world leaders and youth from around the globe becoming directly acquainted with the tragic reality of the atomic bombings, we will advance our efforts to realize a world free of nuclear weapons still further.
This year the average age of atomic bomb survivors is for the first time over 80 years old. It has also been 20 years since the Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Law, enacted to provide support for aging atomic bomb survivors, came into effect. We will continue to develop thoroughly our comprehensive relief measures covering health and medical services and welfare.
In particular, giving consideration to the feelings of those who have applied for recognition as having an atomic bomb disease, we will expedite screenings of the applications so that recognition is granted at the earliest possible time.
I wish to conclude with my heartfelt prayers for the repose of the souls of the victims and my best wishes to the bereaved families and to the atomic bomb survivors, along with my sincere prayers for the inner peace of all the participants today and the people of Hiroshima.