Hiroshima pledges nuclear ban at 77th memorial amid Russian threat
On Saturday, Hiroshima recalled the atomic bombing 77 years ago and officials, including the UN secretary-general, warned against building up its nuclear arsenal, raising fears of another such attack amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.
“Nuclear weapons are nonsense. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who attended a prayer in a peace park, said they do not guarantee security, only death and destruction.
“Three-quarters of a century later, we have to ask what we have learned from the mushroom cloud that rose over this city in 1945,” he said.
The United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, destroying the city and killing 140,000 people. Three days later, she dropped her second bomb on Nagasaki, killing another 70,000 of her. Japan surrendered on August 15, ending almost half a century of World War II and Japanese aggression in Asia.
Fears of a third atomic bomb have risen amid the threat of a nuclear attack from Russia since the war against Ukraine began in February.
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, in his peace declaration, accused Putin of “using his own people as tools of war and stealing the lives and livelihoods of innocent citizens of other countries.”
Matsui said Russia’s war on Ukraine has helped boost support for nuclear deterrence and called on the world not to repeat the mistakes that destroyed his city 77 years ago.
On Saturday, those in attendance, including government leaders and diplomats, held a moment of silence as the peace bells rang at 8:15 a.m. when a US B-29 bombed the city. About 400 doves, which are considered a symbol of peace, were released.
Russia and its ally Belarus were not invited to this year’s Peace Memorial Ceremony. Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Garzin laid flowers at the park memorial on Thursday and told reporters his country would never use nuclear weapons.
The world continues to face the threat of nuclear weapons, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at a commemoration ceremony.
“We must raise our voices to tell people around the world that the tragedy of the use of nuclear weapons must never be repeated,” he said. “Japan will walk the path to a world free of nuclear weapons, however narrow, steep and difficult it may be.”
Kishida, who will host the G7 summit in Hiroshima next May, will join other G7 leaders “in front of the Peace Monument” to unite to uphold peace and international order based on the universal values of freedom and peace. I would like to share a pledge to Democracy.
Matsui criticized nuclear-weapon states, including Russia, for failing to take action despite promising to comply with their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“Instead of thinking of a world without nuclear weapons as a distant dream, we should take concrete steps towards making it a reality,” he said.
Critics say Kishida’s call for a nuclear-free world is in vain as Japan remains under the U.S. nuclear umbrella and continues to boycott the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Kishida said a treaty devoid of the United States and other nuclear powers is not realistic at this point, and that Japan needs to bridge the divide between non-nuclear and nuclear powers.
Many survivors of the bombing suffer lingering injuries and illnesses as a result of the blasts and radiation exposure, and face discrimination in Japan.
The government began providing medical assistance to certified survivors in 1968 after more than 20 years of effort.
According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, as of March, 118,935 survivors, with an average age over 84, were eligible for government medical assistance. However, many others have yet to receive assistance, including those who say they were victims of the “black rain” that fell outside the first designated areas.
https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2022-08-06/world-news/Hiroshima-vows-nuke-ban-at-77th-memorial-amid-Russia-threat-6736245011 Hiroshima pledges nuclear ban at 77th memorial amid Russian threat