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Appeal to "collective wisdom"

August 9, 2016

Nagasaki mayor urges world to use collective wisdom to abolish nuclear weapons

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/09/national/nagasaki-mayor-urges-world-use-collective-wisdom-abolish-nuclear-weapons/#.V6l2NaJdeos

Kyodo

NAGASAKI – Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue on Tuesday urged the international community to draw upon its “collective wisdom” to realize a world without nuclear weapons, as the city marked the 71st anniversary of its atomic bombing by the United States in the final stages of World War II.

In his Peace Declaration delivered at an annual ceremony in the city’s Peace Park, Taue said new frameworks aimed at containing nuclear proliferation are necessary if mankind is to be prevented from destroying its future. “Now is the time for all of you to bring together as much of your collective wisdom as you possibly can, and act,” he said.

Touching on a U.N. working group on nuclear disarmament being held in Geneva, Taue said the creation of the forum to recommend legal measures to bring about nuclear weapons abolition is “a huge step forward.”

But noting the absence of many of the nuclear powers at the debate, he said that without their participation, the discussions “will end without the creation of a road map for nuclear weapons abolition.”

Compared to a similar declaration issued by Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui three days earlier on the occasion of his city’s own anniversary of its 1945 atomic bombing by the United States, Taue was more blunt in both his suggestions for steps to achieve a nuclear-free world and his criticism of the Japanese government.

Taue criticized Japan’s policy of advocating the elimination of nuclear weapons while relying on the United States for nuclear deterrence, calling it “contradictory.” He also urged the government to enshrine into law its three non-nuclear principles of not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear weapons on Japanese territory, which are currently non-binding.

He further pressed the government to work to create what he called a “Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone” as a security framework that does not rely on nuclear deterrence.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in his speech, vowed to continue to make various efforts to bring about a “world free of nuclear weapons,” without referring to any concrete steps. His statements were almost identical to those he delivered during a similar ceremony in Hiroshima on Saturday.

Taue touched on the significance of U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima in May, and called on the leaders of every country to visit Nagasaki and Hiroshima to see the reality of atomic bombings.

Through his visit, the president exhibited to the world “the importance of seeing, listening, and feeling things for oneself,” Taue said, adding, “Knowing the facts becomes the starting point for thinking about a future free of nuclear weapons.”

Obama was the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima.

Taue, meanwhile, called on younger generations to listen to the testimonies of atomic-bomb survivors.

He also expressed his support for areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant disaster.

At 11:02 a.m., the exact time the bomb detonated over Nagasaki 71 years ago, participants at the ceremony offered silent prayers for the victims of the nuclear attack.

Three days after Hiroshima, the United States dropped a second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. An estimated 74,000 people were killed by the end of the year.

The number of hibakusha — atomic bomb survivors with documents certifying that they experienced the nuclear attacks in 1945 — at home and abroad stood at 174,080 as of March, and their average age was 80.86. The Nagasaki city government has confirmed the deaths of 3,487 hibakusha over the past year, bringing the death toll to 172,230.

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