Hiroshima mayor: Let's remember tragedy to act for nuclear abolition

Hiroshima on August 6 marked the 59th anniversary of the world's first nuclear attack. About 45,000 people attended a memorial service held in the Peace Memorial Park by Hiroshima City for the victims of the atomic bombing.

A list of the names of 5,142 A-bomb victims who recently died or were newly confirmed dead in the past year was placed inside the monument, bringing the total number of . A-bomb deaths in Hiroshima to 237,062.

In the Peace Declaration, Hiroshima Mayor Akiba Tadatoshi declared the period beginning August 6 and lasting until August 9, 2005 to be a "Year of Remembrance and Action for a Nuclear-Free World." He stated that the goal is to achieve the total elimination of all nuclear weapons from the face of the earth by 2020, the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings (For the text of the Peace Declaration, see separate item.).

The mayor criticized the U.S. government for maintaining a "egocentric worldview" and for trying to develop usable nuclear weapons. For the first time in his speech at the memorial services, the mayor demanded that the Japanese government defend the peace Constitution and work to "rectify the trend toward open acceptance of war and nuclear weapons."

Speaking on behalf of the government, Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro in his fourth attendance at the ceremony, spoke of the need for comprehensive measures to help Hibakusha (A-bomb survivors), but as soon as the ceremony was over, he left for Tokyo without meeting with Hibakusha.

A big round of applause was given to the mayor's peace declaration and to primary school children's pledge for peace in which they wanted the world to know more about Hiroshima's tragedy and the value of peace, but not to the prime minister's speech, a clear sign that he is isolated from Hiroshima and the world calling for peace without nuclear weapons.

The Japanese Communist Party delegation to the World Conference against A and H Bombs on the same day placed a wreath on the monument.

At dusk, many Hiroshima citizens floated paper lanterns on the Motoyasu River near the A-Bomb Dome in remembrance of their loved ones who fell victim to the atomic bomb and to call for a peaceful world without nuclear weapons. Delegates to the World Conference also took part in the lantern-floating ceremony. A former president of South Korea A-bomb Victim Association said, "Being an A-bomb victim in South Korea faced with North Korea's nuclear threats, I want the anti-nuclear movement like the World Conference movement to become stronger." (end)

Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved.