Hiroshima marks 65th anniversary of American atomic bombing

Friday August 6th marked the 65th anniversary of the US dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

US Ambassador to Japan John Roos became the first official representing the United States to attend the annual ceremony in Hiroshima. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon also attended.

The ceremony started at 8 AM, and a list with the names of the 269,446 bomb victims was placed in a cenotaph. The list grew by 5,501 from 2009 after including those who died in the past year or whose deaths were confirmed.

The participants observed a moment of silence at 8:15 AM, the exact time the bomb was dropped in 1945.

In his peace declaration, Hiroshima City Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba urged the Japanese government to take the leadership in concrete action aimed at the abolition of nuclear arms.

Representatives of 74 countries, the largest number ever, took part in the ceremony. The US, Britain and France, countries that have nuclear weapons, sent their envoys for the first time.

Hiroshima will hold various events throughout the day to promote peace and the elimination of nuclear arms.

PEACE DECLARATION by Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor, The City of Hiroshima

That weapon of human extinction, the atomic bomb, was dropped on the people of Hiroshima sixty-four years ago. Yet thehibakusha’s suffering, a hell no words can convey, continues.Radiation absorbed 64 years earlier continues to eat at their bodies, and memories of 64 years ago flash back as if they had happened yesterday.

Fortunately, the grave implications of the hibakusha experience are granted legal support. A good example of this support is the courageous court decision humbly accepting the fact that the effects of radiation on the human body have yet to be fully elucidated. The Japanese national government should make its assistance measures fully appropriate to the situations of the aging hibakusha, including those exposed in “black rain areas” and those living overseas. Then, tearing down the walls between its ministries and agencies, it should lead the world as standard-bearer for the movement to abolish nuclear weapons by 2020 to actualize the fervent desire of hibakusha that “No one else should ever suffer as we did.”

In April this year, US President Obama speaking in Prague said,“…as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act.” And “…take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons.” Nuclear weapons abolition is the will not only of the hibakusha but also of the vast majority of people and nations on this planet. The fact that President Obama is listening to those voices has solidified our conviction that “the only role for nuclear weapons is to be abolished.”

In response, we support President Obama and have a moral responsibility to act to abolish nuclear weapons. To emphasize this point, we refer to ourselves, the great global majority, as the “Obamajority,” and we call on the rest of the world to join forces with us to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020. The essence of this idea is embodied in the Japanese Constitution, which is ever more highly esteemed around the world.

Now, with more than 3,000 member cities worldwide, Mayors for Peace has given concrete substance to our “2020 Vision” through the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol, and we are doing everything in our power to promote its adoption at the NPT Review Conference next year. Once the Protocol is adopted, our scenario calls for an immediate halt to all efforts to acquire or deploy nuclear weapons by all countries, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which has so recently conducted defiant nuclear tests; visits by leaders of nuclear-weapon states and suspect states to the A-bombed cities; early convening of a UN Special Session devoted to Disarmament; an immediate start to negotiations with the goal of concluding a nuclear weapons convention by 2015; and finally, to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020. We will adopt a more detailed plan at the Mayors for Peace General Conference that begins tomorrow in Nagasaki.

The year 2020 is important because we wish to enter a world without nuclear weapons with as many hibakusha as possible. Furthermore, if our generation fails to eliminate nuclear weapons, we will have failed to fulfill our minimum responsibility to those that follow.

Global Zero, the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament and others of influence throughout the world have initiated positive programs that seek the abolition of nuclear weapons. We sincerely hope that they will all join the circle of those pressing for 2020.

As seen in the anti-personnel landmine ban, liberation from poverty through the Grameen Bank, the prevention of global warming and other such movements, global democracy that respects the majority will of the world and solves problems through the power of the people has truly begun to grow. To nurture this growth and go on to solve other major problems, we must create a mechanism by which the voices of the people can be delivered directly into the UN. One idea would be to create a “Lower House” of the United Nations made up of 100 cities that have suffered major tragedies due to war and other disasters, plus another 100 cities with large populations, totaling 200 cities. The current UN General Assembly would then become the “Upper House.”

On the occasion of the Peace Memorial Ceremony commemorating the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing, we offer our solemn, heartfelt condolence to the souls of the A-bomb victims, and, together with the city of Nagasaki and the majority of Earth’s people and nations, we pledge to strive with all our strength for a world free from nuclear weapons.

We have the power. We have the responsibility. And we are the Obamajority. Together, we can abolish nuclear weapons. Yes, we can.

August 6, 2009

Tadatoshi Akiba
The City of Hiroshima

TodaysNetworkNews: 06 August 2009 – UNTV: United Nations:

On the occasion of the 64th anniversary this week of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls on the world to “convince leaders, once and for all, of the waste, futility and dangers posed by weapons of mass destruction.”

On the occasion of the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons, and issued an urgent call that we must disarm.

SOUNDBITE (English) Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General:
Sixty-four years ago, atom bombs rained down on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Upon seeing such horror and devastation, people throughout the world thought such carnage must never happen again. But thousands of nuclear weapons remain in global arsenals. The risk of nuclear terrorism is real.

Early development of nuclear weapons took place here at Oak Ridge, Tennessee in the United States during the Second World War. The first-ever nuclear test was conducted in New Mexico on 16 July 1945.

Three weeks later, on 6 August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb – known as “Little Boy” on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The bomb contained the equivalent of between 12 and 15,000 tons of TNT and devastated an area of five square miles or 13 square kilometers. More than 60 percent of the buildings in the city were destroyed.

A second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki followed on 9 August. Japan surrendered a few days later, thereby ending World War II.

The impact of the two bombs and later radiation effects killed an estimated 220,000 people.

On the anniversary of the attacks to date the only time in history when nuclear weapons were used UN Secretary-General said the world needs to disarm in order to save lives and redirect precious resources to health, education and development.

SOUNDBITE (English) Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General:
Let us convince leaders, once and for all, of the waste, futility and dangers posed by weapons of mass destruction.In the face of this catastrophic threat, our message is clear: Together, we must disarm!

At UN headquarters today (5 August), United States Ambassador Susan Rice spoke to reporters about yesterday’s announcement that US President Barack Obama will chair a high-level UN Security Council meeting on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament this fall.

Rice said Obama wanted the summit, to be held on 24 September during the annual high-level segment of the General Assembly, to focus on the issues he raised in his Prague speech in April, in which he pledged to eventually eliminate nuclear weapons.

Asked about other member states responses and the expected outcome of the summit, Rice said it was too early to forecast the RSVPs, but that she hoped for a well-attended session, as it will be one of the rare occasions in which the Security Council has met at the heads-of-state level.

She also said next years review conference of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) was an important milestone, and that if the Security Council could lend positive impetus to that with the upcoming summit we would find that very valuable.

SEE: NAGASAKI ATOMIC BOMBSITE REMEMBERED by MAXWELL H. STAMPER (MaximsNews Network), http://www.maximsnews.com/news2009080…

See, http://www.TodaysNetworkNews.com, a.k.a. TomsNetworkNews

United Nationa Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s remarks at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony

Hiroshima, Japan, 6 August 2010

Hiroshima no minasama konichiwa. Ohayo gozaimasu.

We are here, on hallowed ground, to see, to feel, to absorb and reflect.

I am honored to be the first UN Secretary-General to take part in this Peace Memorial Ceremony on the 65th anniversary of this tragic day. And I am deeply moved.

When the atomic bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I was one year old. Only later in life, could I begin to understand the full dimension of all that happened here. As a young boy, I lived through the Korean War. One of my earliest memories is marching along a muddy road into the mountains, my village burning behind me. All those lives lost, families destroyed — so much sadness. Ever since, I have devoted my life to peace. It has brought me here today.

Watakushiwa sekai heiwa no tameni Hiroshima ni mairimashita.

We gather to pay our solemn respects to those who perished, sixty-five years ago, and to the many more whose lives forever changed. Life is short, but memory is long.

For many of you, that day endures, as vivid as the white light that seared the sky, as dark as the black rains that followed. To you, I offer a message of hope. To all of you, I offer my message of peace. A more peaceful world can be ours. You are helping to make it happen. You, the survivors, who inspired us with your courage and fortitude. You, the next generations, the young generation, striving for a better day.

Together, you have made Hiroshima an epicentre of peace. Together, we are on a journey from ground zero to Global Zero ? a world free of weapons of mass destruction. That is the only sane path to a safer world. For as long as nuclear weapons exist, we will live under a nuclear shadow.

And that is why I have made nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation a top priority for the United Nations – and put forward a five-point plan.

Our moment has come. Everywhere, we find new friends and allies. We see new leadership from the most powerful nations. We see new engagement in the UN Security Council. We see new energy from civil society. Russia and the United States have a new START treaty. We made important progress at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington last April, which we will build upon in Korea.

We must keep up the momentum. In September, I will convene a high-level meeting in support of the work of the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations. We will push for negotiations towards nuclear disarmament. A Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. A Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. Disarmament education in our schools — including translating the testimonies of the survivors in the world’s major languages. We must teach an elemental truth: that status and prestige belong not to those who possess nuclear weapons, but to those who reject them.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Sixty-five years ago, the fires of hell descended upon this place. Today, one fire burns, here in this Peace Park. That is the Flame of Peace ? a flame that will remain lit until nuclear weapons are no more. Together, let us work for that day ? in our lifetime, in the lifetimes of the survivors. Together, let us put out the last fire of Hiroshima. Let us replace that flame with the light of hope. Let us realize our dream of a world free of nuclear weapons so that our children and all succeeding generations can live in freedom, security and peace.

Thank you. Domo arigato gozaimasu.

Paper cranes from UN to Hiroshima on 65th anniversary of atomic bombing

United Nationa Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s remarks at Welcome Ceremony in Hiroshima

Hiroshima, Japan, 6 August 2010

I have come to Hiroshima on a pilgrimage for peace.
Every world leader should join us along this path.
Disarmament is among the most important, most noble, goals of the United Nations.
And I would like to say, as well, that it is a goal to which I have devoted much of my life.
We are neighbors, Korea and Japan. We, too, know what it is to live under the nuclear shadow.
That is why I feel especially honored to be the first United Nations Secretary-General to join you here for the Peace Memorial Ceremony.

Hiroshima is a city of legend, both ancient and modern, a symbol as well as an inspiration.
It is one thing to read and hear your history from afar, another see it, to experience it, to share in it with you.
You, the people of Hiroshima, know better than most the darkness of war.
You also know, better than most, the light of hope, the unquenchable spirit of humankind at its finest.
You have done more than rebuild your city. You are building a better world for our children.

After the horror of that dark day, 65 years ago, you might have retreated into anguish, into anger or despair.
Instead, you sent a different message to the world.

You have told the stories that only you can tell: stories of watching your families and loved ones suffer, seeing your beautiful city disappear, living with the fear of sickness and the after-effects on your children ? for years, even generations.

You have spoken to us, eloquently and truthfully, about the human cost of nuclear weapons.
You have urged us to never forget.
Above all, you have called on us to act.
In doing so, you have become more than citizens of Hiroshima.
You have become citizens of the world, delivering a call that resounds around the world:

No more Hiroshimas.
No more Nagasakis.
Never again.

Ladies and gentlemen:
Like you, I bring a clear message.
That message is hope. Hope for peace, hope for a lifting of the nuclear shadow.
Everywhere, momentum is building.
Everywhere, the name of Hiroshima echoes.
It is a summons, a global call to action, from ground zero to Global Zero ? a world free of nuclear weapons.

We see encouraging new commitments by the world’s nuclear powers:
A new START treaty between Russia and the United States;
Important progress at the Washington Summit on Nuclear Security, to be followed by a summit in Korea in 2012;
Advances at the recent review of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations;
Above all, a rising chorus of conscience from civil society.

From leaders such as Mayor Akiba, Mayor Taue of Nagasaki and the Mayors for Peace movement.
From representatives of the world’s religions, lawyers, doctors, environmentalists, labor leaders, women, human rights activists, parliamentarians.
Even former military officials are speaking out: statesmen once responsible for nuclear weapons policies.
Yes, I know. There are doubters, still.

Disarmament, they say, is a dream – utopian, premature, impractical, unrealistic.
In fact, these terms more accurately apply to the alternative.
Yet what is this alternative: an endless reliance on nuclear deterrence, a constant arms race, unbridled military spending and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

We must call these for what they are: illusions — delusions of security.
Let us live in the real world.
There are more than twenty-thousand nuclear weapons in the world today.

The nuclear weapons capability of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea poses a serious security threat to the region and beyond. I urge the DPRK to take concrete actions towards verifiable de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
There are serious concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program. I repeat my call for the government to fully comply with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and provide the fullest cooperation to the IAEA to resolve any concerns over its nuclear programs.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Around the world, we live under the risk of nuclear proliferation; of terrorists seeking to acquire nuclear weapons; of some catastrophic accident or, worse, war.
Only by eliminating nuclear weapons can we eliminate these risks.
That is why I say: Abolishing nuclear weapons is more than our common dream; it is common sense policy.
And that is why, two years ago, I offered a five-point plan on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation.

First, disarmament must enhance security.
I urged the Security Council to strengthen its disarmament work and offer greater protection for non-nuclear-weapon states.

Second, disarmament must be reliably verified.
I proposed that negotiations begin on a nuclear weapons convention.

Third, disarmament must be rooted in legal obligations.
That means universal membership in multilateral treaties and regional nuclear-weapon-free zones.

Fourth, disarmament must be visible.
That is why I have called on countries with nuclear weapons to share more about what they are doing to fulfill their disarmament commitments.

Fifth and finally, disarmament must address dangers from other weapons.
I have pushed for progress in eliminating all weapons of mass destruction and limiting missiles, space weapons and conventional arms.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, I carry more than a message of hope. I come with a call for action.
On this day, from this place, let us tell the world:
Now is the time: the time to build political momentum.
That is why I will convene a first-of-its-kind high-level meeting in New York in support of the work of the Conference on Disarmament.

We should also build on the success of last year’s Security Council Summit. My proposal: to convene regular Security Council Summits to follow up on our promises and commitments, starting next year.

I also invite the Government of Japan to consider hosting a regional conference to advance this Five-Point Action Plan on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation.
Now is the time: the time for rapid entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
Let us set the goal of 2012.
Now is the time: the time to prohibit the production of fissile materials for weapon purposes.
Now is the time: the time to move towards agreement on a no-first-use doctrine, paving the way toward a no-use doctrine.

The Mayors for Peace have set a goal – a world free of nuclear weapons by the year 2020.
That is what I call perfect vision.
Looking toward that day, let us pledge to join together on the 75th anniversary of the bombing – with the hibakusha – to celebrate the end of nuclear weapons.

Let us also teach our children the right path – the path of peace via disarmament. That should include translating the testimonies of the survivors.

These first-hand stories must be told. There are tens of thousands of them. Yet less than one percent have been translated into the world’s languages.

Finally, now is the time ? the time to invest in peace.
Last year, military spending exceeded $1.5 trillion ? more than 133 trillion yen.
Meanwhile, investments in people and in peace are put on hold.
The world is over-armed. Peace is under-funded.

Ladies and gentlemen:
Addressing all of these challenges is our common responsibility.
This is the enduring lesson of Hiroshima.
When nuclear weapons are used, there are no bystanders.
In the fight to abolish nuclear weapons, there must be no bystanders.
Everyone gains. Everyone must be involved. Or else, everyone loses.

You, the people of Hiroshima, have led the way.
Your stories, your spirit, your moral standing have shaped our dreams for a better world.
On behalf of a grateful world, we thank you.
Thank you for your courage and your leadership in the cause of peace.
Peace be upon you, your children and us all.

Thank you.