Hiroshima pledges ban on nuclear weapons at 77th memorial amid threat from Russia.

TOKYO — Hiroshima on Saturday commemorated the atomic bomb attack 77 years ago when officials, including the head of the United Nations, warned against building nuclear weapons and another similar attack during Russia’s war on Ukraine. Fear increases.

“Nuclear weapons are nonsense. They do not guarantee any safety – only death and destruction,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who joined the prayer at Hiroshima Peace Park.

“Three-quarters of a century later, we must ask what we learned from the mushroom cloud that spread over this city in 1945,” he said.

The United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, destroying the city and killing 140,000 people. He dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki three days later, killing another 70,000 people. Japan surrendered on August 15, ending World War II and nearly half a century of Japanese aggression in Asia.

Fears of a third nuclear attack have grown amid threats of a nuclear attack by Russia since the start of the war against Ukraine in February.

Guterres said a crisis with serious nuclear weapons in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula is spreading rapidly. “We are one mistake, one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from Armageddon.”

PHOTOS: Hiroshima pledges nuclear ban at 77th memorial amid Russia threat

In his peace declaration, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui accused Putin of “using his own people as instruments of war and stealing the lives and livelihoods of innocent citizens in another country.”

Matsui said Russia’s war against Ukraine was providing support for nuclear deterrence, and urged the world not to repeat the mistakes that destroyed his city nearly eight decades ago.

On Saturday, attendees, including government leaders and diplomats, observed a moment of silence with the tolling of peace bells at 8:15 a.m., when American B-29s dropped bombs on the city. About 400 pigeons were released as a symbol of peace.

Japan’s foreign ministry said Guterres met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida after the ceremony and sounded the alarm over global backsliding on nuclear disarmament, stressing the importance of Japan, the only nation in the world that has no nuclear weapons. have faced, Japan’s foreign ministry said.

Kishida took Guterres to the Peace Museum, where they each assembled an origami crane that symbolized peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Russia and its ally Belarus were not invited to this year’s peace memorial. Russia’s ambassador to Japan, Mikhail Galuzin, laid flowers at a memorial statue in the park on Thursday and told reporters that his country would never use nuclear weapons.

Kishida said at the memorial that the world is facing threats posed by nuclear weapons.

“I must raise my voice to appeal to people around the world that the tragedy of using nuclear weapons must never be repeated,” he said. “Japan will drive its way to a world without nuclear weapons, no matter how narrow, steep or difficult.”

Kishida, who will host the Seven Summit in Hiroshima next May, said he hoped to share his commitment with other G7 leaders “before the peace memorial” to promote peace based on the universal values ​​of freedom. And can unite to protect the international order. Democracy

Matsui criticized nuclear-weapon states, including Russia, for not taking action despite pledges to uphold their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“Instead of treating a world without nuclear weapons as a distant dream, they should take concrete steps to make it a reality,” he said.

Critics say Kishida’s call for a world free of nuclear weapons rings hollow because Japan remains under the US nuclear umbrella and continues to boycott the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Kishida said the deal, which lacks the United States and other nuclear powers, is not realistic at the moment and that Japan needs to bridge the divide between non-nuclear and nuclear powers.

Many survivors of the bombings have long-term injuries and illnesses as a result of exposure to the blasts and radiation, and face discrimination in Japan.

The government began providing medical assistance to certified survivors in 1968 after more than 20 years of efforts.

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, as of March, 118,935 survivors, whose average age is now over 84, are certified as eligible for government medical assistance. But many others, including those who say they were victims of “black rain” that fell outside the initially designated areas, are still homeless.

Aging survivors, known as habakusha in Japan, are pushing for a nuclear ban and hope to convince younger generations to join the movement.

Gutierrez had a message for the youth: “Finish what the hibakusha started. Carry their message forward. In their names, in their honor, in their memory – we must act.”

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