Nagasaki mayor urges Japan to sign UN nuclear weapon ban treaty

Japanese city marks 74th anniversary of deadly US nuclear bombing during World War II with renewed call for peace.

The southwestern city of Nagasaki on Friday urged the Japanese government to sign a UN treaty banning nuclear weapons as the country paid tribute to the victims of the US atomic bomb attack on the city 74 years ago.

“As the only country in the world to have experienced the devastation caused by nuclear weapons, Japan must sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as soon as possible,” Nagasaki  Mayor Tomihisa Taue said in the annual peace declaration at a ceremony marking the anniversary.

The treaty was adopted by 122 countries in July 2017, but it has yet to be in force as it has not been ratified by the required 50 countries.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the annual event at the city’s Peace Park, which drew about 5,900 people, including survivors, bereaved families and representatives from 66 countries, broadcaster NHK reported.

The anniversary comes just a week after the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between Russia and the United States ended.

“The present world situation involving nuclear weapons is extremely dangerous. The opinion that nuclear weapons are useful is once again gaining traction,” Taue said.

“The atomic bombs were built by human hands and exploded over human heads. It follows that nuclear weapons can be eliminated by an act of human will.”

Taue urged world leaders to visit the atomic-bombed cities and learn firsthand the inhumanity of nuclear weapons.

Survivors and other participants marked the 11:02am (04:02GMT) blast anniversary with a minute of silence.

The bombing of Nagasaki killed 74,000 people and came three days after the first atomic bomb dropped by a US B-29 bomber was detonated over the western city of Hiroshima.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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