Nagasaki Mayor Urges Nations: Abandon Nuclear Programs

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Tomihisa Taue, the mayor of the Japanese city Nagasaki, which was devastated by a US nuclear bomb during the second World War, has deplored the failure of leaders to move toward denuclearization and expressed fear that Nagasaki would not be the last city to be destroyed by nuclear arms.

The Japanese city Nagasaki on Wednesday marked the 72nd anniversary of the USA atomic bombing during World War II, with Mayor Tomihisa Taue insisting that Tokyo joins a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

"The worldwide situation surrounding nuclear weapons is becoming increasingly tense", Taue said.

At 11:02am, the time that the bomb struck 72 years ago, people at the ceremony observed a moment of silence as the peace bell rang.

"It beggars belief that the United States president has chosen the 72nd anniversary to threaten North Korea with "fire and fury like the world has never seen".

I appeal to all governments to follow your example and intensify their efforts to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.

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A one-minute silence followed by prayers was offered at 8.15am [local time], the exact time when the atomic bomb (Little Boy) was dubbed by the U.S. about 600 metres above the Hiroshima.

"The Japanese government's stance of not even participating in the diplomatic negotiations for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is quite incomprehensible to those of us living in the cities that suffered atomic bombings", the Mayor said.

"The nuclear threat will not end as long as nations continue to claim that nuclear weapons are essential for their national security", Taue said.

He urged Japan's government to change its policy of relying on the U.S. nuclear umbrella and join the nuclear prohibition treaty as soon as possible.

In a speech, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his commitment to "realizing a world without nuclear weapons". Many died immediately while others succumbed to injuries or radiation-related illnesses weeks, months and years later.