Leaders Issue Calls to Action on the 75th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombings

September 2020

Hidehiko Yuzaki, governor of Hiroshima Prefecture, Aug. 6

Why...has the call of the [atomic bomb] victims and of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the abolition of nuclear weapons been betrayed for such a long time?

The situation surrounding nuclear weapons. There are still more than 13,000 nuclear weapons in the world, with the nuclear-weapon countries continuing to modernize their nuclear forces. Today, as nuclear disarmament continues to stagnate, the situation concerning the elimination of nuclear weapons is extremely bleak. This is indicated by the lapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty; the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); Iran’s suspension of the fulfillment of some JCPOA requirements; and the issue of the extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which is scheduled to expire next year.

Even though no country formally opposes the goal of abolishing nuclear weapons, no practical progress has been recently seen in nuclear disarmament. To ensure that nations are seriously committed to the elimination of nuclear weapons, discrediting the enigmatic nuclear deterrence theory—the primary rationale for the reliance on nuclear weapons—is of vital importance.

As with the case of the deplorable system of slavery, which was widely believed to be acceptable but is now absolutely unacceptable, the national security system relying on nuclear weapons can be changed, because nuclear deterrence theory is in fact a common myth created and shared by people.

UN Undersecretary-General Izumi Nakamitsu, delivering remarks for UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Aug. 9

I want to pay tribute to the hibakusha, the survivors who have endured decades of health, economic, and social tribulations. Rather than be held captive by that suffering, you have transformed your plight into a warning about the perils of nuclear weapons and an example of the triumph of the human spirit.

Your example should provide the world with a daily motivation to eliminate all nuclear weapons. Sadly, three-quarters of a century after this city was incinerated by an atomic bomb, the nuclear menace is once again on the rise.

The prospect of nuclear weapons being used intentionally [or] by accident or miscalculation is dangerously high. Nuclear weapons are being modernized to become stealthier, more accurate, faster, and more dangerous. The relationships between nuclear-armed states are precarious, defined by distrust, a lack of transparency, and dearth of dialogue. Nuclear sabers are being rattled, with bellicose rhetoric not seen since the Cold War.

The international community must return to the understanding that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. There is an urgent need to stop the erosion of the nuclear order. All countries possessing nuclear weapons have an obligation to lead.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue, Aug. 9

Exactly 75 years have passed since the day our city was assaulted by a nuclear bomb. Despite the passing of three-quarters of a century, we are still living in a world where nuclear weapons exist.

In order to see that no one else ever goes through such a hellish experience, the hibakusha, or atomic bombing survivors, have fervently striven to inform us about what went on underneath that mushroom cloud. However, the true horror of nuclear weapons has not yet been adequately conveyed to the world at large. If, as with the novel coronavirus, which we did not fear until it began spreading among our immediate surroundings, humanity does not become aware of the threat of nuclear weapons until they are used again, we will find ourselves in an irrevocable predicament.

I appeal to the leaders of countries around the world.

Please aim to break down the growing climate of distrust and instead build trust through dialogue. At this very time, please choose solidarity over division. At the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference, which is scheduled for next year, I ask that you show a workable way toward nuclear disarmament, which includes reductions in such weapons by the nuclear superpowers.I now appeal to the government of Japan and members of the Diet.

As a country that has experienced the horrors of nuclear weapons, please sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and see to its ratification at the earliest possible date. In addition, please examine the plan to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Northeast Asia; and please adhere for eternity to the peaceful principles of the Japanese constitution, which includes the determination not to wage war.

Furthermore, in addition to providing increased support for hibakusha who are suffering from atomic bombing aftereffects, I ask that relief measures be extended to those who experienced the atomic bombings but have yet to be officially recognized as bombing survivors.