Nagasaki mayor calls for nuke weapons abolition at Memorial Ceremony

Jiji Press
Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue makes an annual peace declaration in Nagasaki on Tuesday.

NAGASAKI (Jiji Press) — Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue called for the abolition of nuclear weapons in an annual peace declaration on Tuesday, 77 years after his southwestern Japan city was devastated by a U.S. atomic bomb.

“No matter what, nuclear weapons must not be used!” Taue said at an annual memorial ceremony at a Nagasaki park while citing a story of a hibakusha atomic bomb survivor whose lower body was left paralyzed.

He said that nuclear weapons can be used as long as they exist, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threat to use such weapons in his war in Ukraine.

“The belief that even though nuclear weapons are possessed they probably will not be used is a fantasy, nothing more than a mere hope,” he said.

“We must recognize that ridding ourselves of nuclear weapons is the only realistic way of protecting the Earth and humankind’s future at this very moment,” Taue said.

He urged nuclear states to show a concrete process for nuclear arms reductions. Nuclear states “hold a particular responsibility” due to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, he said.

The ceremony was attended by representatives from a record 83 countries, including such nuclear powers as the United States and China. Officials from Russia and Belarus were not invited.

At the ceremony, 82-year-old hibakusha Takashi Miyata read out a commitment to peace.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a speech that Japan will follow a path to achieve a world without nuclear weapons no matter how narrow, rough and difficult it is. Nagasaki must be kept as the last nuclear-attacked place, he said.

Kishida stopping short of mentioning the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Hibakusha groups are demanding Japan sign and ratify the pact.

The roster of 3,160 hibakusha who were confirmed dead in the year ending in July was presented at the ceremony, bringing the death toll from the Aug. 9, 1945, U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki to 192,310.

Participants to the ceremony observed a minute of silence at 11:02 a.m. local time, the time when the atomic bomb was dropped on the city 77 years ago.