On 75th bombing anniversary, Nagasaki seeks nuclear weapons ban

Tokyo, Aug 9 (efe-epa).- The Japanese city of Nagasaki on Sunday marked the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing, urging the world leaders to work towards global nuclear disarmament, which includes reductions in such weapons by Russia and the United States.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue read a statement at the ceremony to remember the victims and “the day our city was assaulted by a nuclear bomb.”

“Despite the passing of three quarters of a century, we are still living in a world where nuclear weapons exist,” Taue said.

The mayor wondered why was it that “we humans are still unable to rid ourselves of nuclear weapons…these dreadful weapons that so cruelly take lives without even allowing for dignified deaths and force people to suffer for entire lifetimes as a result of radiation?”

He said it had been 50 years since the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, or NPT, entered into force, promising that there would be no increase in atomic-weapon states and that disarmament negotiations would be pursued “is an extremely important agreement for humankind”.

However, he said, some nuclear-weapon states have gone back on the promise of nuclear disarmament as evidenced by initiatives such as the scrapping of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF Treaty.

The mayor noted that the development and deployment of newer and more sophisticated nuclear weapons and smaller and easier-to-use nuclear weapons was being done which has signaled that the threat of nuclear weapons being used was increasingly becoming real.

“Please aim to break down the growing climate of distrust and instead build trust through dialogue. Please choose solidarity over division. At the NPT Review Conference scheduled for next year, I ask that you show a workable way towards nuclear disarmament which includes reductions in such weapons by the nuclear superpowers of Russia and the US.”

As his counterpart in Hiroshima did three days ago, on the anniversary of the first nuclear attack in history, Taue called on the Japanese government and the nuclear powers to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, awaiting ratification by 50 countries (it has 43) to enter into force.

“Among the nuclear-weapon states and countries under the nuclear umbrella there have been voices stating that it is too early for such a treaty. That is not so. Rather, nuclear arms reductions are far too late in coming,” Taue said.

Nagasaki wondered whether 75 years of first-hand accounts by the hibakusha, survivors of the bombings, of the horrors of nuclear weapons were not enough to abolish them.

“If, as with the novel coronavirus which we did not fear it until it began spreading among our immediate surroundings, humanity does not become aware of the threat of nuclear weapons until they are used again, we will find ourselves in an irrevocable predicament,” Taue declared.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated his country’s commitment to a world without nuclear weapons but avoided referring to the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty.

Japan is one of the countries under the United States’ “nuclear umbrella.”

This year’s ceremony was held on a very small scale, with several hundred attendees, due to measures taken to contain the spread of Covid-19.

After a symbolic offering of water (in tribute to the victims who begged for water while suffering the effects of radiation) and flowers, a minute’s silence was observed at the exact time the bomb had exploded, 11.02 am, broken only by the ringing of a bell and the sound of the cicadas. EFE-EPA


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