Nuclear anniversaries have been ignored this year, it seems to me.
Ceremony in Nagasaki marked the remembrance of the victims of the second atomic weapon used in war, which was detonated over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. Agence France Press reports:
Nagasaki’s mayor, marking the 64th anniversary of his city’s atomic bombing by the United States, called on Sunday on the leaders of nuclear-armed powers to visit the site and build a nuclear-free world.
Tomihisa Tanoue urged world leaders from both declared nuclear powers and others such as Iran, Israel and North Korea to visit the city in southwestern Japan.
“I am sure anyone who visits here would feel the sorrow of the victims and be shaken by it,” the mayor said in an address at an annual ceremony commemorating the 1945 bombing.
A minute of silence was observed at 11:02 am (0202 GMT), when the US bomb exploded above the city, killing roughly 74,000 people. The bombing followed one a week before in Hiroshima and hastened Japan’s surrender in World War II.
Tanoue said an April speech by US President Barack Obama in Prague, where Obama pledged to build a world with no nuclear weapons, “impressed” the residents of Nagasaki.
“The Japanese government must support the Prague speech. As a nation that has come under nuclear attack, Japan must lead the international community” in abolishing the weapons, he said.
Similar appeals were made Thursday when Hiroshima marked the anniversary of its bombing, which killed 140,000 people.
At the Nagasaki ceremony, Prime Minister Taro Aso reiterated the Japanese government’s anti-nuclear stance, three weeks ahead of national elections that he is tipped to lose.
Aso raised eyebrows at the Hiroshima ceremony, when he pledged to work toward abolishing nuclear weapons but later told reporters that he thought it was “unimaginable” to attain a nuclear-free world.
Similar ceremonies, and similar pleas for nuclear non-proliferation marked the August 6 anniversary of the atomic bomb drop on Hiroshima. The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported:
Some 50,000 people gathered Thursday at the peace park in Hiroshima to mourn the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city by U.S. forces during the World War II.
Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba delivered a peace declaration, calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020.
“The hibakusha still suffer a hell that continues,” said Akiba.
“The Japanese government should support hibakusha, including those who were victims of black rain and those who live overseas,” he said.
It was reported Wednesday that the Japanese government aims to come to an agreement with all atomic bomb survivors who have sued the government for financial support to help them pay medical bills for illnesses related to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Akiba also said “The year 2020 is important as we want to enter a world without nuclear weapons with as many hibakusha as possible. We call on the world to join forces with us to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020.”
Referring to the movements such as the environmentalists, Akibasaid, “Global democracy that respects the will of the world and respects the power of the people has begun to grow.”
“We have the power. We have the responsibility. We are the Obamajority. And we can abolish nuclear weapons. Yes we can,” said the mayor.
On Wednesday, Akiba urged the people around the world to join the city’s efforts to abolish nuclear weapons in response to U.S. President Barack Obama’ s appeal for a world free of nuclear weapons.
During the 50-minute memorial ceremony, a moment of silence was observed at 8:15 a.m., the time the atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima 64 years ago, killing nearly 100,000 people in a blink.
This in a week when two burgeoning new nuclear powers, Iran and North Korea, continue to claim they will flout non-proliferation agreements for their own self defense.
The question obtains on nuclear issues as well as genocides: When does “never again” start?
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