TOKYO, Aug 6, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – The mayor of Hiroshima urged Japan to sign a
landmark UN treaty banning nuclear weapons as the city Tuesday marked 74
years since being targeted in the world’s first atomic attack.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led commemorations at the Peace Memorial Park in
Hiroshima as residents offered silent prayers, lit candles and placed
wreathes to remember those killed in the August 6, 1945 bombing.
And mayor Kazumi Matsui used the occasion to push the Abe administration
to sign the UN treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons (TPNW), approved
by more than 120 nations, but rejected by the US and other nuclear armed
“I call on the government of the only country to experience a nuclear
weapon in war to accede to the hibakusha’s (atomic bomb victims) request that
the TPNW be signed and ratified,” said Matsui.
“I urge Japan’s leaders to manifest the pacifism of the Japanese
constitution by displaying leadership in taking the next step towards a world
free from nuclear weapons.”
The mayor urged world leaders to come to the city to see the memorial for
themselves, amid expectations that Pope Francis will visit later this year.
The ongoing threat from atomic weapons in the region was demonstrated as
nuclear-armed North Korea fired off two “unidentified projectiles” off its
eastern coast — the latest in a series of tests.
Meanwhile, the US and Russia failed to renew a Cold War-era nuclear pact
last week, triggering renewed fears of an arms race.
Japan remains the only country to have experienced atomic attack —
against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, days ahead of the country’s surrender on
August 15, 1945 to end World War II.
For his part, Abe reiterated a pledge to serve as a “bridge” between
nations with and without nuclear weapons to rid the world of them.
“With help from both sides, I will patiently encourage them to engage in
dialogue and I am resolved to lead international efforts towards this end,”