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Nagasaki Mayor Says Threat of Another Nuclear Attack Growing

  • A U.S. atom bomb detonates over Nagasaki 72 years ago, devastating the city. The city remains the last to have been attacked by a nuclear weapon.

    A U.S. atom bomb detonates over Nagasaki 72 years ago, devastating the city. The city remains the last to have been attacked by a nuclear weapon. | Photo: REUTERS

Published 9 August 2017

On the 72nd anniversary of the last time a nuclear weapon was used in war, the mayor of Nagasaki laments the failure to denuclearize, and worries that Nagasaki will not be the last city.

Tomihisa Taue, the mayor of the Japanese city Nagasaki, which was devastated by a U.S. nuclear bomb during the second World War, has deplored the failure of leaders to move toward denuclearization and expressed fear that Nagasaki would not be the last city to be destroyed by nuclear arms.

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The remarks came during a speech given at a ceremony for the 72nd anniversary of the devastating attack.

“A strong sense of anxiety is spreading across the globe that in the not too distant future these weapons could actually be used again,” Taue said in Nagasaki's Peace Park.

“The international situation surrounding nuclear weapons is becoming increasingly tense,” he continued.

Nagasaki was largely destroyed by an atomic bomb on August 6th, 1945, when the United States dropped one on the city, killing at least 70,000 people. The bombing was three days after a similar U.S. bomb destroyed Hiroshima, killing 140,000.

Taue criticized the Japanese government, under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for making empty promises over working toward denuclearization of the world. He said that Japan's decision to not participate in negotiations for the United Nations Nuclear Prohibition Treaty is “incomprehensible.”

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"This, we will certainly never forget: the fact that at 11:02 a.m. on August 9, 1945, an atomic bomb exploded in the air right above the hill where we are now assembled, killing and injuring 150,000 people," the mayor said. "On that day, furious blast and heat rays reduced the city of Nagasaki to a charred expanse of land. People whose skin hung down in strips staggered around the ruined city looking for their families. A dumbfounded mother stood beside her child who had been burnt black. Every corner of the city was like a landscape from hell. Unable to obtain adequate medical treatment many of these people fell dead, one by one."

Taue called on world leaders to come to Hiroshima and Nagasaki to “imagine how you would feel if your own family had been in Nagasaki on that day.”

He finished his speech by paying tribute to those who died in the bombings, as well as those who survived it, known as “hibakusha,” many of whom have suffered radiation related illnesses. Taue “strongly” urged the Japanese government to step up its assistance to bomb survivors.

“The nuclear threat will not end as long as nations continue to claim that nuclear weapons are essential for their security,” he insisted.

The United States and Russia posses the vast majority of the world's nuclear arsenal, however the United States remains the only country in the world to have used nuclear arms in war.

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