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Nagasaki mayor slams nuclear powers

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue has criticized the nuclear weapons states, saying they have not shown a sincere commitment to nuclear disarmament.

He made the remarks in the 2010 Nagasaki Peace Declaration, which he delivered on Monday at a ceremony held to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the city on August 9, 1945.

Mayor Taue appealed to the world to work for the elimination of nuclear weapons and said that people have the “responsibility to realize a world without the fear of nuclear weapons,” the Kyodo News International reported.

“We call upon the leaders of the nuclear weapons states never to trample on humanity’s efforts for a world without nuclear weapons,” Taue told the six thousand people gathered at the Nagasaki Peace Park to remember the victims of the attack and to honor the hibakusha (atomic bombing survivors).

“The lack of sincere commitment from the nuclear weapons states toward nuclear disarmament could provoke antipathy and lead to the emergence of more new nuclear weapons states, increasing the threat of nuclear proliferation around the world,” he added.

Taue said Nagasaki strongly supports the Nuclear Weapons Convention, a new international treaty for a complete ban on nuclear weapons.

He criticized the nuclear powers for rejecting a proposal presented at this year’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference that would have established a schedule for nuclear disarmament.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he said, “Nagasaki and Hiroshima have long worked together to tell the world of the catastrophes caused by the atomic bombings, and to appeal for the weapons’ abolishment. The government of Japan, a nation that has endured two atomic bombings, manifested its position as a non-nuclear country by stating the Three Non-Nuclear Principles as national policy. However, this year, 65 years after the atomic bombings, the Japanese government has revealed the existence of a ‘secret nuclear pact.’ We harbor profound distrust of the government’s past responses that have turned the Three Non-Nuclear Principles into a mere formality. Moreover, the government has recently been promoting negotiations on a nuclear agreement with India, a non-NPT member country with nuclear weapons. This means that a nation that has suffered atomic bombings itself is now severely weakening the NPT regime, which is beyond intolerable.

“The first thing the Japanese government should do is to enact the Three Non-Nuclear Principles into law in order to restore the trust of the Japanese people. Also, the government should seek the denuclearization of Japan, South Korea and North Korea in a bid to realize security that does not rely upon a nuclear umbrella. We urge the Japanese government to propose a concept of a Northeast Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone and to demonstrate to the international community its own leadership as the government of a nation bombed by atomic weapons.”

He added, “I would like to remind everyone around the world that it is we ourselves who have the power to decide which path we should take, ‘a world with nuclear weapons’ filled with distrust and threat, or ‘a world without nuclear weapons’ based on trust and cooperation. For our children, we have responsibility for creating a future without the fear of nuclear weapons. Even though on our own each of us might be small and weak, by joining together we can become a force to make governments act and to create a new history. Let us convey our intention fully and clearly to our governments.”

In conclusion, he stated, “We offer our sincere condolences on the deaths of the atomic bomb victims, and pledge to continue our utmost efforts together with the city of Hiroshima, until the day when nuclear weapons no longer exist on the Earth.”

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