Hiroshima celebrates 76th anniversary of US atomic bombing
TOKYO (AP) – Hiroshima marked the 76th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing on Friday, as the Japanese city’s mayor urged world leaders to unite to eliminate nuclear weapons, just as they stand united against the coronavirus .
Mayor Kazumi Matsui urged world leaders to commit to nuclear disarmament as seriously as they tackle a pandemic that the international community recognizes as a “threat to humanity”.
“Nuclear weapons, developed to win wars, are a threat of total annihilation which we can certainly end, if all nations work together,” Matsui said. “No sustainable society is possible with these weapons continually ready for indiscriminate slaughter.”
The United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, destroying the city and killing 140,000 people. He dropped a second bomb three days later on Nagasaki, killing 70,000 more. Japan surrendered on August 15, ending World War II and its nearly half a century of aggression in Asia.
But countries stockpiled nuclear weapons during the Cold War and a stalemate continues to this day.
The Global Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entered into force in January after years of civilian efforts joined by atomic bombing survivors, or hibakusha. But while more than 50 countries have ratified it, the treaty notably misses the United States and other nuclear powers as well as Japan, which has relied on the American nuclear umbrella for its defense since the end of the war. .
Matsui reiterated his demand that his own government sign and ratify the treaty “immediately” and join the discussion, to live up to the long-cherished wish of the atomic bombing survivors. He also called on Japan to provide productive mediation between nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who attended the ceremony in Hiroshima, did not mention the treaty and instead underscored the need for a more ârealisticâ approach to bring nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states closer together. strengthening the NPT. Later, at a press conference, Suga said he did not intend to sign the treaty.
âThe treaty lacks support not only from nuclear-weapon states, including the United States, but also many countries that do not have nuclear weapons,â Suga said. “What is appropriate is to seek a passage to realistically promote nuclear disarmament.”
Suga also apologized for inadvertently skipping parts of his speech, including his pledge to continue efforts to achieve a nuclear-free world as the leader of the only country in the world to have suffered atomic attacks and fully aware of his inhumanity.
Many bombing survivors have lasting injuries and illnesses from the bombs and radiation exposure and have been discriminated against in Japanese society.
The government began medically supporting certified survivors in 1968 after more than 20 years of survivor efforts.
As of March, 127,755 survivors, whose average age is now nearly 84, are certified hibakusha and eligible for government medical assistance, according to the Department of Health and Welfare.
Suga announced last month that medical benefits would be extended to 84 Hiroshima survivors who had been denied help because they were outside government limits. The victims were exposed to the radioactive “black rain” that fell on the city after the bombing and fought a long legal battle to have their health problems recognized.
Matsui urged Suga’s government to further expand its support and obtain generous aid to quickly reach all those still suffering the physical and emotional effects of the radiation, including the Black Rain survivors who were not part of the trial.
Thursday’s ceremony at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was drastically reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic and was also overshadowed by the Tokyo Olympics, where even national television NHK quickly switched to games after major speech.
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