The mayor spoke yesterday during the ceremony at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on the 72nd anniversary of the city's destruction. In his address, he urged the Japanese government to sign the United Nations nuclear prohibition treaty. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is working with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Poland, to ensure that two of the worst horrors of the 20th century are never forgotten.
Hiroshima (AsiaNews/Agencies) – In his annual Peace Declaration, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui urged nations to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
Mr Matsui spoke during the ceremony yesterday, 6 August, at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on the 72nd anniversary of the destruction of the city by a US atomic bomb.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and representatives from other nations placed wreaths in front of the cenotaph.
A moment of silence was observed at 8:15 am as the Peace Bell rang out to sound the moment the bomb detonated over the city, killing tens of thousands of residents. Then, the mayor again described nuclear weapons as an "absolute evil."
Referring to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons approved July 7 at a UN conference, he said "the governments of all countries must now strive to advance further toward a nuclear-weapon-free world."
Matsui thanked the 122 nations that voted for the treaty, which “demonstrated their unequivocal determination to achieve abolition."
However, the world’s nuclear powers did not attend the conference where the treaty was approved. Neither did Japan and other allies of nuclear powers protected by their nuclear umbrella.
Matsui said that Japan’s constitution, one of the most peace-oriented in the world, should be respected.
In his address, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not refer to the nuclear weapons nor the prohibition treaty. The Japanese government has made it clear that it will not sign the treaty.
“The treaty will deepen confrontation between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states further and therefore does not match our country's stance of placing importance on cooperation between them,” said former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida previously.
During the ceremony, the names of atomic bomb survivors (hibakusha) who died over the past year were placed in the Cenotaph for the A-Bomb Victims, which was erected at the Memorial Park to keep alive the memory of the tragedy.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is teaming up with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland to ensure that memories of two of the 20th century's worst horrors will never be forgotten.
"Auschwitz and Hiroshima are extremely symbolic locations in terms of world history," said Kenji Shiga, the director of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. "We want to strengthen our ties."