Japan marks 73rd anniversary of atomic bombing of Hiroshima

Gerald Bowen
August 9, 2018

Japan should live up to the spirit of its pacifist constitution to lead the worldwide community "toward dialogue and cooperation for a world without nuclear weapons", Matsui said.

He said, "To achieve a world without nuclear weapons, we need to understand how nuclear bombs can cause tragic results".

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

Japan marked the 73rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Monday. The mayor then touched on the winning of last year's Nobel Peace Prize by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a worldwide network of nongovernmental organizations that pushed for the adoption of the nuclear weapons ban treaty, and said the spirit of the hibakusha "is spreading through the world".

Doves fly over the cenotaph dedicated to the victims of the atomic bombing during a ceremony to mark the 73rd anniversary of the bombing at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.

As in the previous year, he stopped short of mentioning the nuclear weapons ban treaty, only saying that a gap has emerged among countries over how to advance nuclear disarmament.

Matsui's call however highlighted Japan's contradictory relationship with nuclear weapons although Japanese officials routinely argue that they oppose atomic weapons.

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The anniversary comes amid hopes to denuclearise North Korea after Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump made vague aspirational statements of denuclearising the peninsula when they met in Singapore in June.

However, Japan has not become a signatory to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which came into effect in July 2017.

Japan has largely maintained a hard line on Pyongyang, in particular pushing for movement on citizens abducted decades ago by North Korean agents.

In a speech during the ceremony, Abe said, "I'm determined to bridge nuclear and nonnuclear weapon states and lead global efforts". The bombings, the first atomic attacks on humans, closed World War II and opened the nuclear age.

Among five major nuclear weapons states, representatives from the United States, France, Russia and Britain took part in the event.

"Maintaining its three non-nuclear principles, our country is determined to make strenuous efforts to serve as a bridge between both parties", Abe said.

Tomie Makita, 88, of Hiroshima pays a visit to the park every year on August 6 to remember the bombing that claimed the lives of her friends. U.S. Ambassador to Japan William F. Hagerty IV made his first appearance at the ceremony since he was sworn in for the current post in July of a year ago.

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