A-bomb an­niver­sary in Na­gasaki amid US-North Korea ten­sion

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Amid grow­ing ten­sion be­tween Wash­ing­ton and North Korea, the mayor of Na­gasaki said yes­ter­day that the fear of an­other nu­clear bomb at­tack is grow­ing at a cer­e­mony mark­ing the 72nd an­niver­sary of the US atomic bomb­ing of his city. Na­gasaki Mayor Tomi­hisa Taue urged nu­clear states to aban­don such weapons and crit­i­cized Ja­pan’s gov­ern­ment for not tak­ing part in the global ef­fort to­ward a nu­clear ban.

The bomb­ing an­niver­sary comes just as Py­ongyang and Wash­ing­ton are trad­ing es­ca­lat­ing threats. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump threat­ened North Korea “with fire and fury” and North Korea’s mil­i­tary said yes­ter­day that it was ex­am­in­ing its plans for at­tack­ing Guam. “The in­ter­na­tional sit­u­a­tion sur­round­ing nu­clear weapons is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly tense,” Taue said at Na­gasaki’s Peace Park. “A strong sense of anx­i­ety is spread­ing across the globe that in the not too dis­tant fu­ture these weapons could ac­tu­ally be used again.”

The world’s first atomic bomb, used on Aug. 6, 1945, killed 140,000 peo­ple in Hiroshima. The bomb­ing of Na­gasaki three days later killed 70,000 more. At 11:02 am, when 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.

Taue sharply crit­i­cized Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe’s gov­ern­ment for what he said were empty prom­ises about work­ing to achieve a nu­clear-free world. He said Ja­pan’s ab­sence even dur­ing di­plo­matic ne­go­ti­a­tions for the UN Nu­clear Pro­hi­bi­tion Treaty, adopted in July, is “in­com­pre­hen­si­ble to those of us liv­ing in the cities that suf­fered atomic bomb­ings.”

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. “Nu­clear weapons are in­com­pat­i­ble with mankind,” said Yoshi­toshi Fuka­hori, an 88-year-old sur­vivor of the Na­gasaki atomic bomb­ing who lost his sis­ter in the blast. He said that as he rushed home the morn­ing af­ter the bomb­ing, the shock­ing view from the hill­top - his home­town flat­tened and the land­mark Catholic church on fire - made him cry.

Fuka­hori, who op­er­ates a li­brary of atomic bomb­ing pho­tos, said Ja­pan, which has since re­built it­self as a paci­fist na­tion, should never lose the re­spect and trust it has re­gained from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. 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. The av­er­age age of the sur­vivors is more than 81 years. Many suf­fer from last­ing ef­fects of ra­di­a­tion. —AP

NA­GASAKI: Doves fly over the Statue of Peace at Na­gasaki Peace Park in Na­gasaki, south­ern Ja­pan dur­ing a cer­e­mony to mark the 72nd an­niver­sary of the world’s sec­ond atomic bomb at­tack over the city. —AP

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