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Nagasaki Peace Declaration 2016

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Nuclear weapons are cruel weapons that destroy human beings.

The instant that the single nuclear bomb dropped by a U.S. military aircraft on Nagasaki City at 11:02 AM on August 9, 1945, exploded in the air, it struck the city with a furious blast and heat wave. Nagasaki City was transformed into a hell on earth; a hell of black-charred corpses, people covered in blistering burns, people with their internal organs spilling out, and people cut and studded by the countless fragments of flying glass that had penetrated their bodies.

The radiation released by the bomb pierced people’s bodies, resulting in illnesses and disabilities that still afflict those who narrowly managed to survive the bombing.

Nuclear weapons are cruel weapons that continue to destroy human beings.

In May this year, President Obama became the first sitting U.S. President to visit Hiroshima, a city which was bombed with a nuclear weapon. In doing so, the President showed the rest of the world the importance of seeing, listening and feeling things for oneself.

I appeal to the leaders of states which possess nuclear weapons and other countries, and to the people of the world: please come and visit Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Find out for yourselves what happened to human beings beneath the mushroom cloud. Knowing the facts becomes the starting point for thinking about a future free of nuclear weapons.

This year at the United Nations Office at Geneva, sessions are being held to deliberate a legal framework that will take forward nuclear disarmament negotiations. The creation of a forum for legal discussions is a huge step forward. However, countries in possession of nuclear weapons have not attended these meetings, the results of which will be compiled shortly. Moreover, conflict continues between the nations that are dependent on nuclear deterrence and those that are urging for a start of negotiations to prohibit nuclear weapons. If this situation continues, then the meetings will end without the creation of a roadmap for nuclear weapons abolition.

Leaders of countries possessing nuclear weapons, it is not yet too late. Please attend the meetings and participate in the debate.

I appeal to the United Nations, governments and national assemblies, and the civil society including NGOs. We must not allow the eradication of these forums where we can discuss legal frameworks for the abolition of nuclear weapons. At the United Nations General Assembly this fall, please provide a forum for discussing and negotiating a legal framework aimed at the realization of a world without nuclear weapons. And as members of human society, I ask you all to continue to make every effort to seek out a viable solution.

Countries which possess nuclear weapons are currently carrying out plans to make their nuclear weapons even more sophisticated. If this situation continues, the realization of a world without nuclear weapons will become even more unlikely.

Now is the time for all of you to bring together as much of your collective wisdom as you possibly can, and act so that we do not destroy the future of mankind.

The Government of Japan, while advocating nuclear weapons abolition, still relies on nuclear deterrence. As a method to overcome this contradictory state of affairs, please enshrine the Three Non-Nuclear Principles in law, and create a “Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone”

(NEA-NWFZ) as a framework for security that does not rely on nuclear deterrence. As the only nation in the world to have suffered a nuclear bombing during wartime, and as a nation that understands only too well the inhumanity of these weapons, I ask the Government of Japan to display leadership in taking concrete action regarding the creation of a nuclear weapons-free zone, a concept that embodies mankind’s wisdom.
The history of nuclear weapons is also the history of distrust.

In the midst of this distrust between nations, countries with nuclear weapons have developed evermore destructive weapons with increasingly distant target ranges. There are still over 15,000 nuclear warheads in existence, and there is the ever-present danger that they may be used in war, by accident, or as an act of terrorism.

One way of stemming this flow and turning the cycle of distrust into a cycle of trust is to continue with persistent efforts to create trust.

In line with the peaceful ethos of the Constitution of Japan, we have endeavored to spread trust throughout the world by contributing to global society through efforts such as humanitarian aid. In order that we never again descend into war, Japan must continue to follow this path as a peaceful nation.

There is also something that each and every one of us can do as members of civil society. This is to mutually understand the differences in each other’s languages, cultures and ways of thinking, and to create trust on a familiar level by taking part in exchange with people regardless of their nationality. The warm reception given to President Obama by the people of Hiroshima is one example of this. The conduct of civil society may appear small on an individual basis, but it is in fact a powerful and irreplaceable tool for building up relationships of trust between nations.

Seventy-one years after the atomic bombings, the average age of the hibakusha, atomic bomb survivors, exceeds 80. The world is steadily edging towards “an era without any hibakusha.” The question we face now is how to hand down to future generations the experiences of war and the atomic bombing that was the result of that war.

You who are the young generation, all the daily things that you take for granted – your mother’s gentle hands, your father’s kind look, chatting with your friends, the smiling face of the person you like – war takes these from you, forever.

Please take the time to listen to war experiences, and the experiences of the hibakusha. Talking about such terrible experiences is not easy. I want you all to realize that the reason these people still talk about what they went through is because they want to protect the people of the future.

Nagasaki has started activities in which the children and grandchildren of the hibakusha are conveying the experiences of their elders. We are also pursuing activities to have the bombed schoolhouse at Shiroyama Elementary School, and other sites, registered as Historic Sites of Japan, so that they can be left for future generations.

Young people, for the sake of the future, will you face up to the past and thereby take a step forward?

It is now over five years since the nuclear reactor accident in Fukushima. As a place that has suffered from radiation exposure, Nagasaki will continue to support Fukushima.

As for the Government of Japan, we strongly demand that wide -ranging improvements are made to the support provided to the hibakusha, who still to this day suffer from the aftereffects of the bombing, and that swift aid is given to all those who experienced the bombing, including the expansion of the area designated as having been affected by the atomic bomb.

We, the citizens of Nagasaki, offer our most heartfelt condolences to those who lost their lives to the atomic bomb. We hereby declare that together with the people of the world, we will continue to use all our strength to achieve a world without nuclear weapons, and to realize everlasting peace.

Tomihisa Taue
Mayor of Nagasaki
August 9, 2016

Nagasaki Peace Declaration 2016

Nagasaki City Peace Hall.jpg

August 9, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Nagasaki urges world to draw on wisdom to abolish nuclear weapons

Nagasaki one day after the atomic bombing seen in newly-discovered pictures..jpg

 

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 southwestern Japan 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 not to destroy 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 that many of the nuclear powers are not attending the debate, he said that without their participation, the discussions “will end without the creation of a roadmap for nuclear weapons abolition.”

Compared to a similar declaration issued by Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui three days earlier on the occasion of the western Japan city’s own anniversary of its 1945 A-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.

By visiting, 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 Daiichi 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.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/nagasaki-urges-world-to-draw-on-wisdom-to-abolish-nuclear-weapons

August 9, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Full text of 2016 Hiroshima Peace Declaration

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Hiroshima – The following is the full text of the Peace Declaration read Saturday by Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui at a ceremony to mark the 71st anniversary of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima:

1945, August 6, 8:15 a.m. Slicing through the clear blue sky, a previously unknown “absolute evil” is unleashed on Hiroshima, instantly searing the entire city. Koreans, Chinese, Southeast Asians, American prisoners of war, children, the elderly and other innocent people are slaughtered. By the end of the year, 140,000 are dead.

Those who managed to survive suffered the aftereffects of radiation, encountered discrimination in work and marriage, and still carry deep scars in their minds and bodies. From utter obliteration, Hiroshima was reborn a beautiful city of peace; but familiar scenes from our riversides, patterns of daily life, and cultural traditions nurtured through centuries of history vanished in that “absolute evil,” never to return.

He was a boy of 17. Today he recalls, “Charred corpses blocked the road. An eerie stench filled my nose. A sea of fire spread as far as I could see. Hiroshima was a living hell.” She was a girl of 18. “I was covered in blood. Around me were people with skin flayed from their backs hanging all the way to their feet — crying, screaming, begging for water.”

Seventy-one years later, over 15,000 nuclear weapons remain, individually much more destructive than the one that inflicted Hiroshima’s tragedy, collectively enough to destroy the Earth itself. We now know of numerous accidents and incidents that brought us to the brink of nuclear explosions or war; today we even fear their use by terrorists.

Given this reality, we must heed the hibakusha. The man who described a living hell says, “For the future of humanity, we need to help each other live in peace and happiness with reverence for all life.” The woman who was covered in blood appeals to coming generations, “To make the most of the life we’ve been given, please, everyone, shout loudly that we don’t need nuclear weapons.” If we accept these appeals, we must do far more than we have been doing. We must respect diverse values and strive persistently toward a world where all people are truly “living together.”

When President Obama visited Hiroshima in May, he became the first sitting president of the country that dropped the atomic bomb to do so. Declaring, “…among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear, and pursue a world without them,” he expressed acceptance of the hibakusha’s heartfelt plea that “no one else should ever suffer as we have.” Demonstrating to the people of the United States and the world a passion to fight to eliminate all remaining nuclear weapons, the president’s words showed that he was touched by the spirit of Hiroshima, which refuses to accept the “absolute evil.”

Is it not time to honor the spirit of Hiroshima and clear the path toward a world free from that “absolute evil,” that ultimate inhumanity? Is it not time to unify and manifest our passion in action? This year, for the first time ever, the Group of Seven foreign ministers gathered in Hiroshima. Transcending the differences between countries with and without nuclear weapons, their declaration called for political leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and fulfillment of the obligation to negotiate nuclear disarmament mandated by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This declaration was unquestionably a step toward unity.

We need to fill our policymakers with the passion to solidify this unity and create a security system based on trust and dialogue. To that end, I once again urge the leaders of all nations to visit the A-bombed cities. As President Obama confirmed in Hiroshima, such visits will surely etch the reality of the atomic bombings in each heart. Along with conveying the pain and suffering of the hibakusha, I am convinced they will elicit manifestations of determination.

The average age of the hibakusha has exceeded 80. Our time to hear their experiences face to face grows short. Looking toward the future, we will need our youth to help convey the words and feelings of the hibakusha. Mayors for Peace, now with over 7,000 city members worldwide, will work regionally, through more than 20 lead cities, and globally, led by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to promote youth exchange. We will help young people cultivate a shared determination to stand together and initiate concrete action for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Here in Hiroshima, Prime Minister Abe expressed determination “to realize a world free of nuclear weapons.” I expect him to join with President Obama and display leadership in this endeavor. A nuclear-weapon-free world would manifest the noble pacifism of the Japanese Constitution, and to ensure progress, a legal framework banning nuclear weapons is indispensable. In addition, I demand that the Japanese government expand the “black rain areas” and improve assistance to the hibakusha, whose average age is over 80, and the many others who suffer the mental and physical effects of radiation.

Today, we renew our determination, offer heartfelt consolation to the souls of the A-bomb victims, and pledge to do everything in our power, working with the A-bombed city of Nagasaki and millions around the world, to abolish nuclear weapons and build lasting world peace.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/06/national/history/full-text-2016-hiroshima-peace-declaration/

August 7, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | 1 Comment