Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui on Sunday called for world leaders to recognize the “folly” of nuclear deterrence at a ceremony marking the 78th anniversary of the US dropping an atomic bomb on the city, killing an estimated 140,000 people.
“Leaders around the world must confront the reality that nuclear threats now being voiced by certain policymakers reveal the folly of the theory of nuclear deterrence,” Matsui said, according to Kyodo News. “They must immediately take concrete steps to lead us from the dangerous present toward our ideal world.”
Matsui urged Japan to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which bans nuclear weapons and currently has 92 signatories. Tokyo has faced criticism from anti-nuclear weapons activists for paying lip service to the idea of establishing a nuclear-free world while being under the protection of the US nuclear umbrella and rapidly building up its military.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who represents Hiroshima in parliament, also spoke at the ceremony. “Seventy-eight years ago today, a single atomic bomb deprived people said to number well more than 100,000 of their precious lives. It reduced the city to ashes and deprived people of their dreams and bright futures in an instant. Even those who escaped death suffered hardships that words cannot describe,” he said.
Discussing current global tensions, Kishida singled out Russia for its “nuclear threat” and made no mention of the fact that it was the US that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The US recently engaged in a blatant nuclear provocation in the region by docking a nuclear-armed submarine in South Korea for the first time since 1981.
Back in May, Group of Seven leaders held a summit in Hiroshima and gathered at the memorial in the city for the victims of the US bombing. After the visit, the G7 released a statement claiming that they are working toward a “world without nuclear weapons.” But policies announced by the G7 during the summit have brought the world closer to nuclear war, including President Biden giving the green light to send US-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.