Hiroshima remembers the atomic bombing 77 years ago as officials including the head of the United Nations warned against building nuclear weapons and fears of another such attack grew amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Nuclear weapons are bullshit. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who attended the prayer at Hiroshima Peace Park, said they do not guarantee any security – only death and destruction.
“Three quarters of a century later, we must ask what we have learned from the mushroom cloud that grew over this city in 1945,” he said.
The United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, destroying the city and killing 140,000 people.
It dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki three days later, killing another 70,000 people.
Japan surrendered on August 15, ending World War II and Japan’s nearly half-century of aggression in Asia.
Fears of a third nuclear bombing have risen amid threats of a nuclear attack by Russia since the war against Ukraine began in February.
In the Middle East and the Korean peninsula “the crisis is spreading rapidly with a serious nuclear crisis”, Mr Guterres said.
“We are far from a mistake, a misunderstanding, a miscalculation at Armageddon.”
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, in his peace declaration, accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “using his own people as a means of war and stealing the lives and livelihoods of innocent civilians in another country”.
Russia’s war on Ukraine is helping build support for nuclear deterrence, with Mr Matsui urging the world not to repeat the mistakes that destroyed his city nearly eight decades ago.
On Saturday, attendees, including government leaders and diplomats, observed a moment of silence with the sound of the peace bell at 8.15 a.m., the time a US B-29 bombed the city.
About 400 pigeons, believed to be symbols of peace, were released.
Japan’s foreign ministry said Mr Guterres met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida after the ceremony and expressed concern over a global return to nuclear disarmament, emphasizing the importance for Japan, the only country in the world to have suffered nuclear attacks. To lead in this effort, Japan’s foreign ministry said. ,
Mr. Kishida took Mr. Guterres to the Peace Museum, where he folded an origami crane – a symbol of peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Russia and its ally Belarus were not invited to this year’s peace memorial.
Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Galujin laid flowers at a memorial in the park on Thursday and told reporters that his country would never use nuclear weapons.
At the memorial, Mr. Kishida said that the world continues to face threats from nuclear weapons.
“I must raise my voice to appeal to people around the world that the tragedy of the use of nuclear weapons should never be repeated,” he said.
“Japan will continue on its way toward a world without nuclear weapons, no matter how narrow, steep or difficult it may be.”
Mr Kishida, who will host a Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima next May, said he looks forward to sharing his pledge “in front of the Peace Memorial” with other G7 leaders to encourage them to embrace the universal values of freedom. to be united on the basis of peace and the protection of the international order. and democracy.
Mr Matsui criticized nuclear-weapon states, including Russia, for not taking steps despite their pledge to comply with obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“Instead of treating a world without nuclear weapons as a distant dream, they should take concrete steps towards making it a reality,” he said.
Critics say Mr. Kishida’s call for a nuclear-free world is hollow as Japan remains under the US nuclear umbrella and continues to boycott the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Mr. Kishida said the treaty, which the US and other nuclear powers lack, is currently not realistic and that Japan needs to bridge the gap between non-nuclear and nuclear powers.
Many survivors of bombings suffer permanent injuries and diseases as a result of the explosions and radiation exposure, and face discrimination in Japan.
The government began providing medical aid to certified survivors in 1968, after more than 20 years of their effort.
According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, as of March, 118,935 survivors, whose average age is now over 84, have been certified as eligible for government medical assistance.
But many others, who they say were victims of the “black rain” that initially fell outside designated areas, are still without support.
Older people, known in Japan as hibakusha, are pushing for a nuclear ban and hoping to persuade younger generations to join the movement.
Mr Guterres had a message for young people: “Hibakusha has started, finish it. Carry on their message. In his name, in his honor, in his memory – we must act.”