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Hiroshima mayor questions nuclear nations' nationalism, wants Japan to do more

09 August 2018

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, standing at the park near ground zero for the annual ceremony, made his annual call for a world without nuclear weapons and warned of the threat of rising nationalism.

Matsui said the number of hibakusha alive today is decreasing, and therefore "listening to them grows ever more crucial".

Japan needs to lead the global community toward "dialogue and cooperation for a world without nuclear weapons", the mayor added.

In this August 8, 1945, photo, survivors walk past one of the few buildings still standing two days after the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.

Matsui also expressed hope for the easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula to proceed through "peaceable dialogue", as the USA and North Korea reached an agreement to denuclearize the peninsula in their summit in June.

Abe said differences between the nuclear and non-nuclear states had widened, but he pledged to do more to bridge their gap.

To accelerate Japan's surrender in the WWII, the US forces dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively on August 6 and August 9, 1945.

"Certain countries are blatantly proclaiming self-centered nationalism and modernising their nuclear arsenals, rekindling tensions that had eased with the end of the Cold War, " Matsui said, without identifying the countries. For the vote of the treaty text, 122 nations voted in favor while 69 nations chose not to vote - all of which were nuclear weapon states. In order to gain cooperation from both sides, it is important for everyone to understand "the reality of the tragedy of nuclear attacks, " he said, and reiterated Japan's pledge to maintain it pacifist and non-nuclear principles.

Speakers include Michael Vaughn, a military veteran; Denise Donnell of the Just Communities of Arkansas organization; Tristan Norman, a Hendrix College student-delegate who visited Japan earlier this year; and Frank LeBlanc, pastor of Westover Hills Presbyterian Church.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in his message during the ceremony that Hiroshima's legacy is one of "resilience" and sought continued moral support from the hibakusha survivors for efforts in promoting the ban of nuclear weapons. I really felt how scary atomic bombs can be. Three days later, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people. "I want Japan to work toward eliminating nuclear weapons", Ota added. The bombings claimed 1 Lakh 40 thousand lives in Hiroshima and 74 thousand in Nagasaki.

Hiroshima mayor questions nuclear nations' nationalism, wants Japan to do more