Hiroshima marks 73rd anniversary of atomic bombing in World War II
Hiroshima marked the anniversary of the August 6, 1945, atomic bombing with a sombre ceremony Monday to remember the people killed and injured and a call to eliminate nuclear weapons amid hopes of denuclearizing North Korea.
Mayor Kazumi Matsui opened his peace address by describing the hellish scene of the blast that morning 73 years ago and the agony of the victims, telling the audience to listen “as if you and your loved ones were there.” He raised concerns about the rise of egocentric policies in the world and warned against the idea of nuclear deterrence as a threat to global security. Matsui urged leaders to steadily work toward achieving a world without atomic weapons.
“Certain countries are blatantly proclaiming self-centered nationalism and modernizing their nuclear arsenals, rekindling tensions that had eased with the end of the Cold War,” Matsui said, without identifying the countries. Nuclear deterrence and nuclear umbrellas are “inherently unstable and extremely dangerous” approaches that seek to maintain international order by only generating fear in rival countries, he said, urging world leaders to negotiate in good faith to eliminate nuclear arsenals instead.
The US attack on Hiroshima killed 140,000 people, and the bombing of Nagasaki killed more than 70,000 three days later, leading to Japan’s surrender and ending World War II.
The anniversary comes amid hopes to denuclearize North Korea after Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump made vague aspirational statements of denuclearizing the peninsula when they met in Singapore in June. “We in civil society fervently hope that the easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula will proceed through peaceable dialogue,” he said.
Japan should take a more constructive role to achieve a nuclear-free world, he said, urging Tokyo to help the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons take effect. Japan, which hosts U.S. troops on its land and is covered by the US nuclear umbrella protecting it from attack, has not signed the treaty.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also was at the ceremony, said differences between the nuclear and non-nuclear states are widening. But he pledged to do more to bridge their gap. In order to gain cooperation from both sides, it is important for everyone to understand “the reality of the tragedy of nuclear attacks,” he said, and reiterated Japan’s pledge to maintain it pacifist and non-nuclear principles.
Salman Rushdie, the acclaimed author who was hospitalized on Friday with serious injuries after being repeatedly stabbed at a public appearance in New York state, is off a ventilator and his condition is improving, his agent and a son said on Sunday. One of Rushdie's sons said his father remained in critical condition but was able to say a few words after getting off the ventilator.
The Taiwan government on Sunday expressed gratitude to more than 50 countries, including India, that have called on all sides to exercise restraint and avoid unilateral actions to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. External affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had called for “exercise of restraint, avoidance of unilateral actions to change status quo [and] de-escalation of tensions”. Bagchi had said India's policies are well-known and consistent, and “do not require reiteration”.
The de facto US embassy in Taipei said the delegation is being led by Senator Ed Markey, who is being accompanied by four other lawmakers on what it described as part of a larger visit to the Indo-Pacific region.
The EU on Sunday said it was "particularly concerned" about worsening conditions for women and girls in Afghanistan after the country's ruling Taliban violently broke up a women's rally. Taliban fighters on Saturday fired in the air and beat up protesters taking part in a women's "bread, work and freedom" march in Kabul. It also stressed that "Afghanistan must also not pose a security threat to any country" per UN Security Council resolutions.
A fire that broke out Sunday in a Coptic Christian church in Egypt's capital Cairo killed 41 people, church officials said. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared on his Facebook page that "I have mobilised all state services to ensure that all measures are taken". Copts are the largest Christian community in the Middle East, making up at least 10 million of Egypt's 103 million people. Egypt has suffered several deadly fires in recent years.