With calls for world peace and abolition of nuclear weapons, about 55,000 people from Japan and abroad gathered in Hiroshima on Saturday to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of the western Japanese city in 1945.
In a peace declaration read in a one-hour memorial service at the packed Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba vowed to act upon the commitment, inherited by the atomic-bomb survivors, to abolish nuclear weapons and reaffirm the responsibility never to "repeat the evil."
Akiba quoted the word from an inscription on the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims, which was damaged by a right-wing extremist late last month who said he did not like the phrase because it was the US that dropped the atomic bomb.
Although Japanese right-wingers do not like the phrase, the widely known fact is that Japan launched the brutal aggression war against its Asian neighboring countries and Japanese aggressors made abundant atrocities on Asian people.
The US dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, 1945 respectively in order to force Japanese militarists to stop their evil crimes in China, South Korea and other Asian countries. On August 15, Japan announced surrender at discretion and World War II ended.
Similar to the right-wingers' view on history issues, Japan's House of Representatives on Tuesday adopted a resolution marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, only making an emphasis of Japan's damages from US atomic bombing but excluding the primary content about Japan's colonial ruling and aggression atrocities on Asian people during the war.
Japan's opposition parties opposed the resolution, saying Japan should focus on severe sufferings and damages of Asian people resulted from the country's past "war of aggression" and "colonial ruling."
Speaking before the audience, Akiba urged the government to inherit the commitment of the hibakusha (atomic-bomb survivors) to the abolition of nuclear weapons and realization of genuine world peace, and take action to never repeat evil such as the past aggression war.
Toward such an end, Akiba urged the UN to establish a committee to try to realize and maintain a nuclear weapon-free world, saying there is a need for such a committee in the wake of the breakdown in talks of the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in May in New York.
"We propose that the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, which will meet in October, establish a special committee to deliberate and plan for the achievement and maintenance of a nuclear weapon-free world," he said, adding he hopes to see Japan play a key role there.
The mayor added that he hopes the General Assembly will act on recommendations from this special committee "adopting by the year 2010 specific steps leading toward the elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020."
The declaration comes as an urgent call for the world to redouble its efforts on disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation after the NPT talks, held every five years, ended without substantive agreement, and in light of nearly 30,000 existing nuclear warheads and growing nuclear threats, especially nuclear terrorism.
Also referring to the aftermath of collapsed NPT talks, UN Undersecretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Nobuyasu Abe delivered a message from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who warned the global community that efforts must be intensified to work for a nuclear weapon-free world amid threats of nuclear terrorism and secret networks trafficking nuclear materials and technology.
"We still live in a world where tens of thousands of nuclear weapons remain, many of them on hair-trigger alert ... without concerted action, we may face a cascade of nuclear proliferation," Annan said in the message.
In a more in-depth speech, House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono took up the monument's epitaph, whose Japanese word "ayamachi," meaning error, is translated in English as "the evil."
Kono said the word refers to two historical facts. One is that Japan made the mistake of "depriving Korea of its independence and trying to control China", and the other is that "the human race used the inhuman weapon of nuclear arm on the same human race."
In his address, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi vowed to maintain the Constitution and Japan's three avowed principles of not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear weapons on its soil.
(Xinhua News Agency August 7, 2005)