This Nagasaki Peace Day, the city marks the 73rd anniversary of the of the world’s second atomic bombing. As in past years, this has led to concerns about nuclear disarmament.

The world’s first atomic bomb was dropped by the US on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, killing 140,000 people. The nuclear attack on Nagasaki took place three days later, killing 70,000 more. Both these events led to Japan’s surrender, ending World War II.

Nagasaki Peace Day Statue
The Nagasaki Peace Statue. The statue’s right hand points to the threat of nuclear power while the extended left hand symbolizes eternal peace

Much like last year, Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged countries around the world to abandon nuclear weapons. He also urged the Japanese government to do more towards disarmament. He was backed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said “Here in Nagasaki, I call on all countries to commit to nuclear disarmament and to start making visible progress as a matter of urgency. Let us all commit to making Nagasaki the last place on earth to suffer nuclear devastation.”

Japan celebrates the 73rd Nagasaki Peace Day

This movement for disarmament led to the development of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017. However, this movement, started by survivors of the atomic bombings, has yet to be signed.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial
Ruins and remains of a concrete building destroyed by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 1945. Only a few structures still stood after the destruction of the city. Today this building is a memorial monument.

As Mayor Taue said on last year’s Nagasaki Peace Day, “The nuclear threat will not end as long as nations continue to claim that nuclear weapons are essential for their national security.” However, he hoped that the Japanese government will help bring about a nuclear-free Northeast Asia, including Japan and the Korean Peninsula.

Despite the fears of nuclear war in the current political climate, Japan has not signed and ratified the treaty. This is due to its sensitive political position. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has, however, said that “Japan seeks to close the gaps between nuclear and non-nuclear states to eventually achieve a nuclear-free world”

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