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  • Children pray for atomic bomb victims in front of the cenotaph for the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing, at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.

    Children pray for atomic bomb victims in front of the cenotaph for the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing, at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 August 2019

Japan has refused to be part of the treaty, along with other countries, led by the United States.

Commemorating 74 years Tuesday since the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Hiroshima’s mayor, Kazumi Matsui, demanded Japan join the United Nations treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.

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"I urge Japan's leaders to manifest the pacifism of the Japanese constitution by displaying leadership in taking the next step towards a world free from nuclear weapons," Matsui said at the ceremony for victims of the 1945 United States bombings.

During his own speech, the right-wing Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, recalled the importance of pursuing work and efforts to achieve "a world free of nuclear weapons."

In a press conference following the ceremony, he rejected Matsui’s request, arguing the treaty does not mirror the reality of security.

Japan has fallen in line behind the U.S. and refused to be part of the treaty, as many other countries have before it.

Tuesday, Aug. 6 marks 74 years since in 1945 the first atomic bom — nicknamed Little Boy — was dropped on Hiroshima, destroying over 60 percent of the city and killing 70,000 residents instantly.

Three days later, on Aug. 9, a second bomb, called Fat Man, was dropped on Nagasaki. Over 20,000 people died, while thousands more Japanese perished in the successive weeks from the consequences of radiation exposure. 

Then U.S.President, Harry Truman, approved the atomic bombings after Japanese leaders rejected the Potsdam Declaration, a statement that called for the surrender of all Japanese armed forces during World War II.

On Aug. 15, 1945, and in the aftermath of the bombings, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's surrender. 

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