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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 August 8 - 14  > Nagasaki mayor in peace ceremony urges Japanese government to support antinuke UN treaty
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2018 August 8 - 14 [PEACE]

Nagasaki mayor in peace ceremony urges Japanese government to support antinuke UN treaty

August 10, 2018

On August 9, the day marking 73 years since the U.S. atomic bombing on Nagasaki City, Mayor Taue Tomihisa at the city-hosted memorial ceremony for A-bomb victims urged the Japanese government to support the UN treaty banning nuclear weapons.

The annual memorial service took place at the Nagasaki Peace Park with 5,200 people, including A-bomb survivors (Hibakusha), bereaved families, and government representatives from 71 countries, participating.

Reading out the Peace Declaration, Mayor Taue demanded that nuclear-armed nations and nations dependent on the nuclear umbrella change their security policies to ones not relying on nuclear weapons. The mayor continued to urge that “the Government of Japan, the only country to have suffered from the wartime use of nuclear weapons, support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and fulfill its moral obligation to lead the world towards denuclearization.”

In the Pledge for Peace on behalf of Hibakusha, Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) Chair Tanaka Terumi criticized the Abe government for refusing to sign and ratify the UN nuclear ban treaty. He said, “I’ll do my utmost to give a boost to the Hibakusha-proposed international signature campaign, have the treaty come into force, and create a world free from both nuclear weapons and war.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as the first sitting UN chief to attend the peace ceremony delivered a speech. In his speech, he expressed his determination by saying, “Let us all commit to making Nagasaki the last place on earth to suffer nuclear devastation. I will work with you to that end.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo in his speech at the ceremony said nothing about the treaty.

Later on the same day, the Nagasaki Day rally was held in the city as a concluding event of the 2018 World Conference against A and H Bombs with 1,500 people, including overseas delegates, participating.

The rally adopted the resolution titled, “Letter from Nagasaki” which calls for stepping up efforts to have the UN treaty enter into force.

The full text of the “Letter from Nagasaki” is as follows:

The 2018 World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs
Resolution adopted by the Nagasaki Rally

Letter from Nagasaki

Assembled in Nagasaki, the second city to have been A-bombed following Hiroshima 73 years ago, we call on all national governments to redouble your efforts to achieve “a world without nuclear weapons”.

TANIGUCHI Sumiteru*, known as the “Postman of Nagasaki” who devoted himself to appealing globally for the elimination of nuclear weapons, with the scares of third degree buns all over his back, left his final message shortly before he died in August last year. He said, “I fear what will happen to our collective memory after all the Hibakusha have died… I want every effort be made to get rid of nuclear weapons without a moment's delay”.

For decades, the Hibakusha, the A-bomb survivors, have shared their difficult experiences with people and exclaimed that humans and nuclear weapons cannot coexist. We urge all government leaders to sincerely listen to the Hibakusha and take action for the survival of humanity.

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki evidenced what catastrophic humanitarian consequences the use of nuclear weapons would bring about. These tragedies should never be repeated under any circumstances. Over fourteen thousand warheads which still exist in the world are threatening the survival of humanity. To save the human race from this danger and protect the peace and security of all nations, the complete elimination of nuclear weapons is the only way forward.

“A world without nuclear weapons” is a common aspiration of humankind. The adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted by the UN Conference on July 7 last year marked a historic step forward to reach this goal, which has kindled hope among Hibakusha and many others throughout the world. Yet, we must overcome many difficulties and obstacles to advance to the goal. To open the prospect for peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons, we appeal to all national governments to take the following actions:

- Sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons without delay; promote international cooperation to ensure that the TPNW enter into force, based on the spirit of the treaty;

- Carry out the “unequivocal undertaking” to “achieve the complete elimination of nuclear arsenals” agreed upon by the major nuclear weapons states in 2000, the “special effort to establish a framework” for it, and the obligation under Article 6 of the NPT to hold disarmament negotiations; implement the resolution adopted in 2010 to convene an international conference on the creation of a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East immediately;

- Encourage educational activities on the inhumanity of nuclear weapons, such as hearing the testimonies by Hibakusha, organizing photo-panel exhibitions on the damage by the A-bombings, and providing assistance in the signature collection campaign in support of the International Hibakusha Appeal and support a variety of other activities by civil society groups.

Achieving “a world without nuclear weapons” requires cooperation between governments and civil society. We heartily appeal for everyone to join hands to reach the goal.

No More Hiroshimas! No More Nagasakis! No More Hibakusha! Nagasaki should remain the last place that suffered a nuclear bomb attack!

August 9, 2018

*Taniguchi Sumiteru was a Co-Chairperson of the Japan Confederation of A-and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) and one of the original initiators of the International Hibakusha Appeal Signature Campaign.
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