Mayor of Hiroshima: Ban nuclear weapons

At the commemoration of the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city, Kazumi Matsui reiterates the urgency for Japan to sign the UN treaty to ban nuclear weapons.  50,000 people withstand the rain and the threat of a typhoon.  UN Secretary: The world indebted to the inhabitants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The commitment of two children to bring "the ideals of peace to the whole world".  Pope Francis' visit on November 24th.



Hiroshima (AsiaNews) - On the 74th anniversary of the outbreak of the atomic bomb launched by the United States on the city of Hiroshima, Kazumi Matsui (photo 2), the mayor of the city asked his government and the world to end nuclear weapons by signing the  UN treaty banning them.

In his declaration of peace, during the commemoration ceremony held this morning, he asked to "listen to the voice of the hibakushi (survivors of the nuclear holocaust)" and sign the treaty that was proposed to the United Nations in 2017 and has been so far  signed by 122 nations.  Japan, an ally of the United States, has not signed it.

Premier Shinzo Abe, present at the ceremony, at a press conference after the commemoration, said that the treaty does not guarantee "real aspects of security", but he assured that Japan will mediate between "States with nuclear weapons and States without nuclear weapons."

At least 50,000 people, with 90 representatives from different countries, attended the Peace Park ceremony, despite the threat of a typhoon and rain.  At 8.15am, the exact time the uranium bomb fell from the Hiroshima sky, all those present fell silent, in memory of the 140,000 victims.

In a message, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that "the world is indebted" to the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki [targeted by a plutonium bomb on August 9,1945] "for their courage and moral guidance in reminding us all of the price of a nuclear war in terms of human lives".

The commemoration in Hiroshima occurs less than three days after the formal withdrawal of the US from the treaty on the control of nuclear weapons, signed with Russia in 1987. Added to this are the tensions with Iran and with North Korea, both engaged in  a nuclear program, and the skirmishes between India and Pakistan, also equipped with nuclear weapons.

"In today's world - said Mayor Matsui - we see egocentric nationalism on the rise, tensions exacerbated by international exclusivism and rivalry, while nuclear disarmament remains at a standstill".

The power of individuals is weak, he continued, but there are many examples of collective strength, to reach the desired goal.

The ceremony was also attended by a girl and a boy, Shuka Kaneda and Tadahiro Ishibashi (photo 3), both 10 years old, who read their "Commitment to peace": "With our hearts, united with those of the hibakusha, we want to bring the ideals of peace to the whole world ".

On November 24, Pope Francis will also visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Many faithful have already asked the pontiff to spread a message against nuclear weapons.