The fear of another nuclear bomb attack is growing on the 72nd anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, the city’s mayor said, apparently referring to the North Korean nuclear threat in the region.
Speaking at a ceremony marking the nuclear tragedy of the World War II on Wednesday, Tomihisa Taue urged nuclear states to abandon such weapons and criticised Japan’s government for not taking part in the global efforts towards a nuclear ban.
The bombing anniversary comes just as Pyongyang and Washington are trading escalating threats over the former’s nuclear weapons programme.
The world’s first atomic bomb, used on August 6, 1945, killed 140,000 people in Hiroshima. The bombing of Nagasaki three days later killed 70,000 more.
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.
“The nuclear threat will not end as long as nations continue to claim that nuclear weapons are essential for their national security,” Taue said.
The outspoken mayor praised the atomic bombing survivors, or “hibakusha”, for their lifelong devotion to the effort.
He urged Japan’s government to change its policy of relying on the US nuclear umbrella and join the nuclear prohibition treaty as soon as possible.
Abe, in a speech that was almost a repeat of what he said in Hiroshima, did not mention the UN nuclear ban treaty.
More than 175,000 hibakusha have died in Nagasaki since the attack, including 3,551 in the past year, while over 300,000 of their peers have died in Hiroshima.