NAGASAKI – Here today, at the opening of the Nagasaki 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 the atomic bomb dropped that day reduced Nagasaki to ashes, devoid even of any vegetation. At that time some 70,000 people lost their precious lives. In this catastrophe, even those who survived were forced to live lives of hardships beyond description.
Yet despite this, the citizens of Nagasaki rose powerfully from amidst this misery to admirably build up an International Culture City blessed with World Cultural Heritage and a beautiful natural environment.
As we look around the city of Nagasaki that has achieved its present-day restoration, we appreciate once more how precious peace is. I have also renewed my determination for Japan, as the only country to have ever experienced the horror of nuclear devastation in war, to take the lead in the international community’s nuclear disarmament efforts, firmly upholding the “Three Non-Nuclear Principles” as we work towards the realization of a world free of nuclear weapons.
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 (NPT), but Japan is determined to make even greater efforts towards 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 to the United Nations General Assembly this autumn.
At the end of August, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) Group of Eminent Persons meeting and the United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues will convene in Hiroshima. Not long after, the Pugwash Conference will be held here in Nagasaki in November. Then in 2016, the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will be convened in Hiroshima. Through these international meetings, we will send out our thoughts powerfully from atomic bombing sites 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 express 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 Nagasaki City.
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