While European and Iranian leaders work to salvage the Iran nuclear deal after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States in May and reimposed his first round of sanctions on Monday, activists, survivors, and Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui marked the 73rd anniversary of the U.S. dropping an atomic bomb on the Japanese city by calling for the total elimination of the world’s nuclear weapons.
“Today, with more than 14,000 nuclear warheads remaining, the likelihood is growing that what we saw in Hiroshima after the explosion that day will return, by intent or accident, plunging people into agony,” Matsui warned in a “moving” peace declaration delivered at a “somber” ceremony in Japan on Monday.
Sharing statements from hibakusha, or those who survived the American bombing in 1945, the mayor continued:
Matsui also urged the Japanese government to join the historic United Nations treaty to ban nuclear weapons, which was adopted by dozens of nations last year and earned the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) a Nobel Peace Prize. Replicas of the award and diploma are on display at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum until Monday, and next will be sent to Nagasaki, the city the U.S. bombed three days later.
ICAN turned to Twitter on Monday to share Matsui’s words and urge all nations to join the U.N. treaty:
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
Paul Kawika Martin, senior director for policy and political affairs at the U.S.-based group Peace Action, said in a statement, “Besides paying respect and commemorating the lives lost in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, marking the anniversaries offers the world an opportunity to reflect on the threat still posed by nuclear weapons, and more importantly, an opportunity to organize for their reduction and elimination.”
“As the only country to ever use nuclear weapons in war,” Martin continued, “and as a signatory to the Nonproliferation Treaty, the United States has both a moral and legal obligation to negotiate in good faith with other nuclear-armed nations for the reduction and elimination of the world’s nuclear arsenals, including our own. Unfortunately, the Trump administration is instead moving forward with plans to spend $1.7 trillion adjusted for inflation on nuclear weapons over the next three decades.”
Several other activists and anti-nuclear organizations used social media on Monday to remember the bombing and demand that every nation work toward outlawing such weapons:
Meanwhile, students at Fukuyama Technical High School in Japan have unveiled a virtual reality experience that enables users to see Hiroshima on the day of the bombing. Their hope is that the VR project will discourage future use of nuclear weapons.
“Even without language, once you see the images, you understand,” Mei Okada, one of the students working on the project, told the Associated Press. “That is definitely one of the merits of this VR experience.”
This post has been updated with a statement from Peace Action.
Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.