Hiroshima prays for peace, fears new arms race 77 years after atomic bombing


The bells pealed in Hiroshima this Saturday when the city marked the 77th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombingand officials, including the United Nations secretary-general, warned of a new arms race following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, and shortly after, Russian President Vladimir Putin indirectly raised the possibility of a nuclear attack. The conflict has also raised concerns about the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear plants.

The Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, joined the thousands of people who filled the Parque de la Paz in the city center to commemorate the anniversary of the bombing that killed 140,000 people.

In 1945, two atomic bombs were detonated over the skies of Japan, the first in Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki three days later, the August 9.

This is the second time that a UN Secretary General has participated in the annual ceremony.

“Nuclear weapons make no sense. They do not guarantee security, only death and destructionGuterres said.

“Keep the nuclear option off the table, forever. It is time for peace to proliferate. Pay attention to the message of the hibakusha: No more Hiroshima! No more Nagasakis!“, said.

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Guterres avoided a direct mention of Russiawhich calls its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation.”

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, whose city this year did not invite the Russian ambassador to the ceremony, was more scathing and critical of Moscow’s military actions in Ukraine.

“By invading Ukraine, the Russian leader, chosen to protect the life and property of his people, is using them as instruments of warstealing the lives and livelihoods of civilians in a different country,” Matsui said.

“Around the world, the notion that peace depends on nuclear deterrence is gaining momentum,” Matsui added.

Photo: Reuters

“These mistakes betray humanity’s determination, born from our experiences of war, to achieve a peaceful world free of nuclear weapons. Accepting the status quo and abandoning the ideal of peace maintained without military force is threaten the very survival of the human race“.

At 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, the American B-29 Enola Gay fighter jet launched a bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” and devastated the city with an estimated population of 350 thousand inhabitants. Thousands more later died from radiation-related injuries and illnesses.

On Saturday, as cicadas screeched in the heavy summer air, the Peace Bell rang and the crowd, including Prime Minister Fumio Kishidafrom Hiroshima, observed a moment of silence at the exact moment the bomb exploded.

“We must not repeat the tragedy of the use of nuclear weapons,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter, adding a call to the peoples of the world to unite or achieve a “world free of nuclear weapons.”

Earlier this week, Kishida became the first Japanese leader to participate in the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

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“We will continue towards the ideal of nuclear disarmament even given today’s challenging security environment“, said.

On Thursday, the Russian ambassador to Japan, Mikhail Galuzin, laid flowers at a memorial stone in the park and told reporters that his nation would never use nuclear weapons.

In Hiroshima, Kishida also told Guterres that he strongly condemned the China’s recent ballistic missile launches as “a serious problem related to the security of Japan and the security of the Japanese people,” according to a press release issued Saturday by the Foreign Ministry.

Kishida repeated the phrases he used a day earlier during a meeting with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose visit to Taiwan this week prompted an enraged China to hold unprecedented live-fire drills in which five missiles landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

He assured that he would work closely with Guterres in the wake of China’s action that “seriously affects the peace and stability of the international community,” according to the statement.

With information from Reuters




Reference-aristeguinoticias.com

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