TOKYO: Nuclear weapons present ‘tangible and present crisis’ after Russian invasion of Ukraine, mayor of Nagasaki declared Tuesday the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombing that destroyed the Japanese city.
On August 9, 1945, Nagasaki was leveled in a blaze that killed 74,000 people, three days after the world’s first nuclear bomb attack in Hiroshima.
The United States’ twin strikes led to the end of World War II, and to this day, Japan remains the only country to have been hit by atomic weapons in wartime.
But on Tuesday, Mayor Tomihisa Taue sounded the alarm.
“In January this year, the leaders of the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China issued a joint statement affirming that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be conducted,'” he said.
“However, the following month, Russia invaded Ukraine. Threats to use nuclear weapons were made, sending shivers all over the world.
“The use of nuclear weapons is not a ‘baseless fear’ but a ‘tangible and present crisis'”, Taue said, warning that they could be triggered by misjudgments, malfunctions or terrorist attacks.
Survivors and foreign dignitaries joined by hundreds of members of the public offered a silent prayer at 11:02 a.m. (0202 GMT), the exact moment the bomb was dropped on the port city.
Bells were rung and doves were released at the grim memorial in Nagasaki Peace Park, with purified water offered during a prayer ceremony for victims who died from burns and other injuries.
Instead of waging war, humanity should foster “a ‘culture of peace’ that spreads trust, respects others and seeks solutions through dialogue,” Taue said.
On Saturday, UN chief Antonio Guterres delivered a speech in Hiroshima on the anniversary of the attack that killed an estimated 140,000 people, including those who perished after the explosion caused by radiation exposure.
He warned that “humanity is playing with a loaded gun” as crises with the potential for nuclear catastrophe proliferate around the world.
A message from Guterres, read in Japanese at Tuesday’s ceremony, said “in these times of high tensions and low levels of trust, we should learn from Nagasaki.”
Japan has long called for a world without nuclear weapons but has not joined a nuclear ban treaty that came into force in 2021, saying it hopes to bridge the gap between nuclear powers that have not joined. to the treaty and non-nuclear countries.

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