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Nagasaki mayor Tomihiza Taue: Nuclear weapons "inhumane"

August 9, 2013


Nagasaki mayor calls on Japan to ink statement denouncing nuke weapons




By YASUSHI SAITO/ Staff Writer

NAGASAKI--In a ceremony on Aug. 9 marking the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Mayor Tomihisa Taue criticized the central government for not signing a joint international statement declaring nuclear weapons "inhumane."

In his Peace Declaration, Taue criticized the failure to sign the international document.

"This stance contradicts the resolution that Japan would never allow anyone else to become victims of a nuclear bombing," the Nagasaki mayor said.

At a session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference, held in Geneva in April and May, 80 nations signed the joint declaration, but Japan refused on the grounds it would contradict its policy of reliance on the U.S. nuclear umbrella for national security.

Taue said that refusal was "betraying the expectations of the global society" and pointed out "the government would approve of (the use of nuclear weapons) under some circumstances."

He said such a position goes against the fact that Japan is the only nation to have suffered a nuclear bombing.

Taue also criticized the resumption of negotiations with India for a nuclear energy agreement that would allow Japan to export such technology to India, which has not joined the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Taue also touched upon the fact that of the 17,000 nuclear warheads in the world, about 90 percent are possessed by the United States and Russia. He called on the presidents of those two nations to commit "to a speedy, drastic reduction" of their nuclear arsenals.

Taue also quoted from the preface of the Constitution, which states the Japanese people have "resolved that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government" and said that reflected the firm resolution of the people to work for world peace. He said in order to not forget that desire for peace, it would be important to continue to hand down the experiences of war and the atomic bombing.

Taue also mentioned Senji Yamaguchi, a Nagasaki atomic bomb survivor who was a leader in the campaign against nuclear weapons. Yamaguchi died in July. Taue said that highlighted the fact that hibakusha were decreasing in number as their average age has exceeded 78.

Recalling Yamaguchi's speech in which he called for "no more hibakusha," Taue asked young people to listen to what the survivors of the atomic bomb have to say.

A moment of silence was observed by participants at the ceremony at 11:02 a.m., the exact time the atomic bomb detonated over Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also gave a speech in which he pledged to uphold the three non-nuclear principles and to work toward the abolition of nuclear weapons and for the realization of eternal world peace.

About 5,800 people attended the ceremony. For the first time, India sent a representative. A total of 44 nations were represented, matching the record high.

U.S. Ambassador John Roos attended for the second straight year. The United States has now sent a representative for three straight years.

Over the past year, 3,404 of those who experienced the bombings died, bringing the total number of victims to 162,083.



August 9, 2013

Nagasaki mayor criticizes gov't's refusal to demand that nuclear powers shun nuclear weapons



NAGASAKI -- As Nagasaki marked the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing in a ceremony on Aug. 9, the city's mayor Tomihisa Taue criticized the national government for its passive attitude toward nuclear disarmament.


In the Nagasaki Peace Declaration presented at the ceremony, Mayor Taue pointed out that during the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, which was held in Geneva in April, Tokyo had stopped short of signing a joint statement urging that nuclear weapons not be used.

"The Japanese government did not sign (the statement), betraying the expectations of global society," Taue said. "If the Japanese government cannot support the remark that 'nuclear weapons (should never be) used again under any circumstances,' this implies that the government would approve of their use under some circumstances."

Taue also expressed worries about Japan's resumption of negotiations on nuclear power cooperation with India, which is not a party to the NPT.

"Cooperating on nuclear power with India, who has not signed the NPT, would render the NPT meaningless as its main tenet is to stop the increase of the number of nuclear-weapon states," he said. "Japan's cooperation with India would also provide North Korea, which withdrew from the NPT and is committed to nuclear development, with an excuse to justify its actions."

The mayor then urged the central government to take proactive measures to fulfill its duty as the only nation to have suffered an atomic bombing.

Moreover, Mayor Taue expressed grave concern about the moves to revise the war-renouncing Constitution, citing a phrase from the Constitution's preamble which reads, "Japanese people have resolved that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government."

Taue underscored the importance of not forgetting the terrible experiences of war and atomic-bombing. "In order not to forget this original desire for peace, it is essential to impart the experiences of war and atomic devastation to succeeding generations."

He also talked about Senji Yamaguchi, an atomic-bombing survivor, or hibakusha, who died in July this year at the age of 82. Yamaguchi had previously visited the United Nations, where he called for the abolition of nuclear arms, saying, "No more hibakusha."

"Listen to their (hibakusha's) voices," Mayor Taue said, noting that the average age of the hibakusha now surpassed 78. "Please consider whether or not you will allow the existence of nuclear weapons in the world today, and in the future world of your children."

In his address, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to stick to the three non-nuclear principles of not producing, possessing or introducing nuclear arms, and also promised to contribute to lasting world peace. He stopped short of saying that his government will abide by provisions in the Constitution, however, which he had mentioned in his 2007 Nagasaki speech while he was previously in power.

Moreover, Abe made no mention of his government's nuclear power policy, although prime ministers Naoto Kan and Yoshihiko Noda had declared at the 2011 and 2012 Nagasaki peace ceremonies that their administrations would seek to end Japan's reliance on atomic power.

The ceremony began at 10:35 a.m. at the Peace Park in Nagasaki. It was attended by about 6,300 people, including hibakusha and bereaved families of atomic-bombing victims, as well as representatives from 44 countries.

The attendees offered a silent prayer at 11:02 a.m., when the atomic bomb was dropped in the city on Aug. 9, 1945.

A total of 3,404 hibakusha are confirmed to have died over the past year, bringing the number of Nagasaki atomic-bombing victims to 162,083.



Nagasaki mayor urges government to do more to eliminate nuclear weapons


As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to push for the abolition of nuclear weapons on the 68th anniversary of the U.S. bombing of the city of Nagasaki, Mayor Tomihisa Taue criticized the government Friday for its recent inaction in opposing nuclear weapons and urged it to show leadership as the world’s only atomic-bombed country.

“I call on the Japanese government to consider once again that Japan is the only country to have suffered a nuclear bombing,” Taue said twice in his latest Peace Declaration delivered at a ceremony in the city’s Peace Park, attended by representatives from over 40 countries.

He also said Tokyo’s failure to sign a statement rejecting the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances at an international meeting in April is “betraying the expectations of global society” and “implies that the government would approve of their use under some circumstances.”

Taue also expressed worries over the resumption of Japan-India negotiations for a nuclear cooperation agreement, saying such cooperation with India, a de facto nuclear power which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, would render “meaningless” the NPT regime and give North Korea “an excuse to justify” its nuclear development.

Abe, for his part, pledged Japan will make every effort to eradicate nuclear weapons, as he did during a ceremony Tuesday in Hiroshima commemorating the 1945 atomic bombing of the city.

On the government’s decision not to endorse the joint statement, which was supported by 80 countries at the preparatory committee session in Geneva for the next NPT review meeting, Abe told a press conference in Hiroshima that “the severe reality in which North Korea has been implementing nuclear development” had an influence.

The speeches at Friday’s ceremony came after participants offered silent prayers for the victims at 11:02 a.m., the time the bomb detonated over Nagasaki.

Representing hibakusha, Shohei Tsuiki, 86, who was then 18, said what he saw after the bombing was “just a scene from hell” filled with people without ears and noses, with burned skin dangling from their bodies, or holding their dead children.

“It is obvious that nuclear power and human beings cannot coexist,” he said, referring to the Fukushima nuclear crisis as well as the bombings of the two cities. “I ask the government to take action sincerely and proactively toward the elimination of nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants.”

Nuclear powers Britain, France and the United States were represented. India was a first-time attendee among de facto nuclear powers that are not NPT signatories.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos, who became the first U.S. ambassador to attend Hiroshima’s memorial ceremony in 2010, also attended the Nagasaki ceremony for the second time.

Three days after Hiroshima was devastated by an atomic bomb dropped by a U.S. B-29 bomber, the United States dropped another on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. An estimated 74,000 people were killed in the blast and its immediate aftermath in a city with a population of about 240,000.

In his speech, Taue said Nagasaki “supports” U.S. President Barack Obama’s desire to seek a nuclear-free world, expressed in Prague in April 2009, and his statement in June this year to work toward a reduction of nuclear arsenals.

But touching on the reality that at least 90 percent of over 17,000 nuclear warheads still in existence belong to either the United States or Russia, Taue said, “President Obama, President (Vladimir) Putin, please commit your countries to a speedy drastic reduction of your nuclear arsenal.”

Taue highlighted the importance of imparting the experience of atomic devastation to future generations and called on the government to provide better support for aging hibakusha, while pledging Nagasaki’s continued support for the people of Fukushima Prefecture following the meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that began in March 2011.

Other attendees included Oscar-winning U.S. filmmaker Oliver Stone, who made a documentary series examining why the bombs were dropped, and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, a Hiroshima native, who was the first foreign minister to attend the Nagasaki ceremony.

As of the end of March, the number of survivors, or hibakusha, officially recognized by the city stood at 37,574. They had an average age of 78.2 years.

Nagasaki officials confirmed that a total of 3,404 hibakusha died over the past year, raising the official total of registered deaths to 162,083.



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