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Nagasaki mayor hits out at nuclear powers on 74th anniversary of bombing

Tomihisa Taue said countries such as the US and Russia are undermining survivors’ efforts to build a nuclear-free world.

Doves fly over the Statue of Peace during a ceremony at Nagasaki Peace Park (Kyodo/AP)
Doves fly over the Statue of Peace during a ceremony at Nagasaki Peace Park (Kyodo/AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

Nagasaki has marked the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombing, as the mayor criticised nuclear states including the US and Russia for challenging survivors’ efforts for a nuclear-free world.

Mayor Tomihisa Taue lamented in his peace declaration that the opinion that nuclear weapons are useful is gaining traction. He said the US and Russia are returning to development and deployment of nuclear weapons after the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was dissolved.

“The present world situation involving nuclear weapons is extremely dangerous,” he said. “The achievements of human kind and the results of our longstanding efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons are collapsing one after another, and the danger of a nuclear calamity is mounting.”

Mr Taue urged world leaders to visit the atomic-bombed cities and learn first-hand the inhumanity of nuclear weapons.

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A mass at Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki (Kyodo/AP)

On August 9 1945, the US bombing of Nagasaki, a second atomic attack on Japan, killed 70,000 people and was followed by Japan’s surrender ending the Second World War.

The first atomic bombing on August 6 on Hiroshima killed another 140,000. Many survivors have developed cancer and other illnesses because of the impact from their exposure to radiation.

Survivors and other participants marked the 11.02am blast with a minute of silence.

Mr Taue also joined Hiroshima’s call for Japan’s government to do more to ban nuclear weapons.

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Shinzo Abe (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

Japan, which hosts 50,000 American troops and is protected by the US nuclear umbrella, has not signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, something that atomic bomb survivors and pacifist groups protest as insincere.

“Japan has turned its back on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” Mr Taue said, and urged prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was also at the peace memorial, to sign the treaty as soon as possible to represent the only country in the world to have suffered atomic attacks.

“I ask Japan to seize the trend toward denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula and to initiate efforts to make north-east Asia a nuclear-free zone where all countries co-exist under, not a ‘nuclear umbrella’, but a ‘non-nuclear umbrella’.”

He also urged Mr Abe’s government to stick to the pacifist constitution and spread the spirit around the world instead. The PM has made revising the war-renouncing Article 9 of the constitution one of his priority political goals.

Mr Abe said in his speech that continuing efforts towards a nuclear-free world is Japan’s responsibility, but did not mention the treaty.

PA

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