Nagasaki mayor marks 72nd anniversary of atomic bombing

Nagasaki’s mayor marked the 72nd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing in his city Wednesday by demanding Japan join a recently adopted U.N. treaty banning nuclear weapons.

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The anniversary came one day after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to respond to North Korea’s continuing nuclear weapons threats with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” And North Korean military threatened a missile strike near the U.S. territory of Guam

“A strong sense of anxiety is spreading across the globe that in the not too distant future these weapons could actually be used again,” Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue told the crowd at the city’s Peace Park that included dignitaries, and survivors and relatives of victims of the bombing.
Taue said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s stance of refusing to enter negotiations for the U.N. Nuclear Prohibition Treaty as “incomprehensible to those of us living in the cities that suffered atomic bombings.” On July 7, 122 of 192 U.N. members approved the treaty.

“As the only country in the world to have suffered wartime atomic bombings, I urge the Japanese government to reconsider the policy of relying on the nuclear umbrella and join the nuclear prohibition treaty at the earliest possible opportunity,” he said.

Abe didn’t mention the treaty in his speech like three days earlier in Hiroshima, also the site of a nuclear bombing in 1945. But he said “Japan is determined to lead the international community … by continuing to appeal to both sides” — ones with and without nuclear weapons.

In Hiroshima’s ceremony Sunday, Mayor Kazumi Matsui didn’t demand Japan join the treaty but urged the government to do “everything in its power to bridge the gap between the nuclear weapons and non-nuclear weapons states, thereby facilitating its ratification.”

Also attending the ceremony were representatives form 60 nations and the European Union, including all five recognized nuclear powers — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. The United States and nearly all countries that have nuclear arms and those that benefit from their protection boycotted the negotiations.

A moment of silence took place as a bell was rung at the exact moment a U.S. warplane dropped a plutonium bomb named “Fat Man” onto the city killed an estimated 74,000 people. It was at 11:02 a.m., on Aug. 9, 1945 — three days after the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing about 140,000 people.

Japan surrendered six days after the bombing of Nagasaki, ending World War II.

By Allen Cone