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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 August 7 - 13  > Abe shuts his ear to Hibakusha’s call for Japan’s ratification of UN N-ban treaty
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2019 August 7 - 13 [POLITICS]

Abe shuts his ear to Hibakusha’s call for Japan’s ratification of UN N-ban treaty

August 7, 2019

On August 6, the day marking the 74th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo held a meeting in Hiroshima with representatives of Hibakusha organizations. Again this year, Abe turned his back on Hibakusha’s demand for Japan to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

The annual meeting was attended by representatives of seven Hibakusha organizations in Hiroshima. They handed to PM Abe a written request urging the government to support and promote the TPNW. The request also calls on the government to revise the A-bomb victim certification program and take measures for the relief of those who were affected by the radiation-contaminated “black rain” that fell from the atomic bombings but are not recognized to be eligible for the certification program.

One of the seven representatives, Sakuma Kunihiko of the Hiroshima Federation of A-and H-bomb Sufferers’ Organizations, said, “As the only A-bombed nation in the world, Japan should sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty and work for the elimination of nuclear weapons.”

Yoshioka Yukio of the Hiroshima liaison council of Hibakusha organizations criticized the Abe government for opposing the TPNW together with nuclear weapons states, and said, “Which country does the Abe government represent? We are outraged at the government’s attitude. Prime minister, you must change your attitude and sign and ratify the treaty.”

In response, Abe asserted that Japan and the TPNW share the goal of the abolition of nuclear weapons, but Japan will take a different approach to achieve this goal. He just repeated that Japan will become a bridge between nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear weapons states.

PM Abe at the peace memorial ceremony held prior to the meeting made no mention of the antinuke treaty.

***

In the morning on the day, the Hiroshima City city-hosted peace memorial ceremony was held in the Peace Memorial Park with around 50,000 people taking part, including Hibakusha, bereaved families, officials of Japanese and foreign governments, and representatives of political parties.

Hiroshima City Mayor Matsui Kazumi read out the peace declaration and called on leaders around the world to respond to civil societies’ efforts to have the TPNW enter into force as early as possible. He urged the “government of the only country to experience a nuclear weapon in war to accede to the hibakusha’s request” to sign and ratify the antinuke UN treaty.

A message from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was read out by UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Nakamitsu Izumi. Guterres in his message pointed out that the only way to prevent nuclear weapons from being used is to totally eliminate these weapons.

Delivering a speech, PM Abe said, “Japan will play a role as a bridge between nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear weapons states, persistently encourage countries of both sides to hold dialogue, and lead efforts for peace in the international community.” He did not make any mention of the TPNW for three years in a row.

Past related article:
> PM Abe ignores Hibakusha’s demand for signing antinuke UN treaty [August 7, 2018]
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