Japan marked the 74th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima Tuesday as the city’s mayor urged countries on the global stage to oust nuclear weapons, preventing a similar occurrence from ever occurring again in the future.
Mayor Kazumi Matsui called upon Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to facilitate denuclearization among the world’s major powers in his speech at the commemoration and expressed his concerns about the current increase of egocentric political affairs in the world.
“Around the world today, we see self-centered nationalism in ascendance, tensions heightened by international exclusivity and rivalry, with nuclear disarmament at a standstill,” Matsui said in his address.
He added that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki shouldn’t only be viewed as historical events, but should also be considered as learning points to build better relations and decrease tensions in the international spectrum. He urged world leaders to visit the cities to better learn what happened.
Matsui further stated that Abe should represent the survivors of the bombing and sign a United Nations nuclear weapons ban treaty.
Japan has not signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons due to the United States’ 50,000 troop military presence in the country, which protects the nation under its nuclear umbrella – Hiroshima survivors and activist groups protest this decision as insensitive.
Abe acknowledged Matsui’s inclinations regarding Japan’s stance between nuclear and non-nuclear states and recognized their notable differences.
“Japan is committed to serve as a bridge between nuclear and non-nuclear states and lead the international effort, while patiently trying to convince them to cooperate and have a dialogue,” Abe stated in his speech. He stopped short of promising to sign the treaty.
A moment of silence was observed at 8:15 a.m., the exact time of the blast on Aug. 6, 1945 when the United States’ “Little Boy” atomic bomb flattened Hiroshima 74 years ago, killing 140,000 people. Survivors, families and commemorators congregated at the site with roses and photographs, praying for the victims who died in the attack.
The commemoration ceremony came hours after North Korea launched suspected ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan during its fourth round of recent weapons demonstrations, which came amid a standoff in denuclearization talks.
Fox News' Morgan Cheung and the Associated Press contributed to this report.