Hiroshima, Japan, Aug 6 (efe-epa).- A ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima served Thursday as a call for the government of Japan, the only country that has suffered a nuclear attack, to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
The appeal was made by Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui at the commemoration of the United States’ nuclear attack on Aug. 6, 1945, three days before another atomic bomb destroyed the Japanese city of Nagasaki.
Matsui spoke to some 800 people gathered in the city’s Peace Memorial Park, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and “hibakusha” (survivors) and representatives.
“To enhance its role as mediator between the nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states, I ask the Japanese government to heed the appeal of the hibakusha that it sign and ratify, and become a party to the TPNW,” said the mayor.
This treaty was passed at the United Nations on July 7, 2017 with the support of 122 member states, but for it to enter into force it needs to be ratified by at least 50 countries, and so far only 40 have done so.
Japan, like all nuclear powers, was left out of this initiative, which joins the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That treaty restricts the possession of atomic weapons and entered into force half a century ago after being signed by the vast majority of nations around the world, including Japan.
These two treaties, Kazumi said, are “both critical to eliminating nuclear weapons.”
“Now more than ever, world leaders must strengthen their determination to make this framework function effectively,” he insisted.
The mayor of Hiroshima spoke after presenting wreaths at a memorial commemorating the tragedy and observing a moment of silence as a bell tolled at the same time the bomb fell on Hiroshima.
In a later message, Abe avoided talking about the TPNW, but said that his country will fight to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.
This year’s ceremony was held with a smaller number of participants to avoid COVID-19 contagion, and will be followed up on Sunday with another event in the city of Nagasaki, which is expected to also serve as an occasion to call for the abolition of atomic weapons. EFE-EPA