Japanese city of Hiroshima on Sunday observed 72nd anniversary of U.S. atomic bombing at its annual memorial ceremony, with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calling on all states including Japan to work toward a world free of nuclear weapons "in their own ways".
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for all states to work toward a world free of nuclear weapons "in their own ways" in a message read on his behalf by Izumi Nakamitsu, U.N. undersecretary-general and high representative for disarmament affairs, Japan Times reported.
"Hiroshima's message of peace and the heroic efforts of hibakushas have reminded the world of the devastating humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. .The United Nations stands with you in our shared pursuit of a world free of nuclear weapons," the message said.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe avoided any mention of the ban treaty in his speech at the ceremony as Japan has refused to join nuke ban treaty.
"For us to truly realize a 'world without nuclear weapons,' the participation of both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states is necessary," he said.
"By firmly maintaining our three non-nuclear principles (of not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear weapons on Japanese territory) and continuing to appeal to both sides, Japan is determined to lead the international community," Abe added.
A global treaty has been approved to ban the nuclear weapons, a move that supporters hope will lead to the eventual elimination of all nuclear arms. The treaty was endorsed by 122 countries at the United Nations headquarters to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons.
Mayor Kazumi Matsui called on the Shinzo Abe government to help realize a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
In the city's annual Peace Declaration, Matsui demanded that Japan join the treaty to ban nuclear weapons,but urged the government to "manifest the pacifism in our Constitution by doing everything in its power to bridge the gap between the nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapon states, thereby facilitating the ratification."
He said the countries that adopted the treaty "demonstrated their unequivocal determination to achieve abolition," and that now is the time for all governments to "strive to advance further toward a nuclear weapon-free world."
A moment of silence was observed at 8:15 a.m., when a uranium-core atomic bomb dubbed "Little Boy" dropped by a U.S. bomber exploded about 600 meters above Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, killing an estimated 140,000 people by the end of that year.
A second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9 and Japan surrendered six days later, bringing an end to World War II.
The combined number of hibakusha stood at 164,621 as of March, down 5,530 from the year prior. Their average age was 81.41.
Matsui demanded in his speech that the government give more compassionate assistance to aging hibakusha, as well as to "the many others also suffering mentally and physically from the effects of radiation."
More than one hundred forty thousand people were killed in the world's first atomic bomb attack of August 6, 1945 on Hiroshima.
The pact's preamble uses the Japanese term hibakusha in its mention of "the unacceptable suffering" of survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings that killed an estimated 214,000 people by the end of 1945.
The ceremony was attended by representatives of about 80 nations plus the European Union. The nuclear states Britain, France, the United States and Russia were scheduled to attend, as well as India, and Pakistan, which are known to possess atomic weapons but are not signatories to nonproliferation treaties. Israel, which is widely believed to have nuclear weapons, had also been scheduled to attend.