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Nagasaki urges nuke ban on 75th anniversary of US A-bombing

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Tokyo: The Japanese city of Nagasaki on Sunday marked its 75th anniversary of the US atomic bombing, with the mayor and dwindling survivors urging world leaders including their own to do more for a nuclear weapons ban.

At 11:02 am, the moment the B-29 bomber Bockscar dropped a 4.5-ton (10,000-pound) plutonium bomb dubbed “Fat Man,” Nagasaki survivors and other participants stood in a minute of silence to honor more than 70,000 dead.

The August 9, 1945, bombing came three days after the United States dropped its first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the world’s first ever nuclear attack that killed 140,000. On August 15, Japan surrendered, ending World War II.

At the event at Nagasaki Peace Park, scaled down because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Tomihisa Taue read a peace declaration in which he raised concern that nuclear states had in recent years retreated from disarmament efforts.

Instead, they are upgrading and miniaturizing nuclear weapons for easier use, he said. Taue singled out the US and Russia for increasing risks by scrapping the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

“As a result, the threat of nuclear weapons being used is increasingly becoming real,” Taue said. Noting that the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty entered into force 50 years ago, Taue urged the US and Russia to show a (asterisk)workable way(asterisk) towards their nuclear disarmament at the NPT review process next year.

He said that “the true horror of nuclear weapons has not yet been adequately conveyed to the world at large” despite struggle and efforts by hibakusha, or atomic bombing survivors, to make Nagasaki the last place of the tragedy.

He also urged Japan’s government and lawmakers to quickly sign the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

After taking part in the ceremony, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe criticized the treaty for not being realistic. None of the nuclear states has joined, and it is not widely supported even by non-nuclear states, he said.

“The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted without taking into consideration the reality of the harsh national security environment,” Abe said at a news conference.

“I must say the treaty is different from Japan’s position and approach” even though they share the same goal of abolishing nuclear weapons, he said.

Abe has repeatedly refused to sign the treaty. He reiterated that Japan’s approach is not to take sides but to serve as a bridge between nuclear and non-nuclear states to encourage dialogue to achieve a total nuclear ban. Survivors and pacifist groups say Japan is virtually siding with the US and other nuclear states.(AP)

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