Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 49, August 2000
55th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic BombingEarly August saw the 55th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At least 30,000 people attended a ceremony in Hiroshima on August 6. They heard the city's Mayor, Tadatoshi Akiba, deliver the city's annual Peace Declaration: "It has been precisely 55 years since one single atomic bomb created a hell on earth. Unfortunately, our most fervent hope, to see nuclear weapons abolished by the end of this [20th] century, has not been realized. … We will create a 21st century in which Hiroshima's very existence formulates the substance of peace." Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori expressed his deepest sympathy for "the people who to this day continue to suffer from the after effects of their exposure." In Nagasaki on August 9, Mayor Itcho Ito cautioned: "The people of the Earth must not forget that there are approximately 30,000 nuclear weapons still in existence…"
In an interview with Japanese NHK television in Hiroshima on August 6, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark observed: "The individual world citizen has to play a part [in disarmament efforts]. The individual world citizen could be writing to their Prime Minister, their member of parliament, making it clear that they want their Government to be taking a progressive role internationally. The international citizen can join the annual commemoration of what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The individual citizen has power and…should use it."
Reports: Hiroshima plea for 21st century, BBC News Online, August 6; Japan's Hiroshima remembers nuclear inferno, Reuters, August 6; Japan marks atomic bombing, Associated Press, August 6; Excerpts from remarks on NHK Television by Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand, August 6, provided by the Disarmament and Security Centre, New Zealand, August 7; Nagasaki marks atomic bombing, Associated Press, August 9.
© 2000 The Acronym Institute.