A-bomb anniversary: Nagasaki mayor criticises Japan PM for 'betrayal' over refusal to sign weapons pledge

Discord rises 68 years after 70,000 were killed by US plutonium bomb

Tokyo

The mayor of Nagasaki has launched a strongly worded attack on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, accusing him of not doing enough to abolish nuclear weapons as the country marked the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of his city.

Tomihisa Taue told an audience at the city's Peace Park yesterday that Japan's failure to sign an international accord rejecting the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances "betrayed the expectations of global society."

Mr Abe said this week Japan had a "responsibility to realise" a nuclear free world but then surprised reporters by defending Tokyo's refusal in April to sign a UN pledge to never use the A-bomb.

He justified the apparent contradiction by saying Japan faced a "severe security environment" living so close to North Korea, which this year carried out its third nuclear test.

The pledge was also snubbed by Russia, India, Pakistan and the United States - all nuclear powers.  It is considered largely symbolic, but as the world's only A-bomb victim, Japan was expected to sign.

Mayor Taue said Mr Abe's comment "implies that the government would approve of their use under some circumstances."  Japan does not have nuclear weapons but shelters under the US nuclear umbrella.

About 6,000 people, including US Ambassador to Japan John Roos, gathered to hear Mr Taue's speech, commemorating the destruction of Nagasaki by a US plutonium bomb on August 9, 1945.  About 70,000 people were instantly killed in the blast. Thousands more subsequently died from radiation.

During a ceremony three days earlier to mark the A-bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, Mr Abe said Japan had a responsibility to "pass on to the next generation…the inhumane nature" of atomic weapons.  Around 140,000 people died in the Hiroshima explosion. 

Mr Abe has triggered controversy in Japan by pushing to export Japan's nuclear reactors and technology to developing countries, just over two years after the Fukushima disaster.  

Mr Taue also criticised the prime minister's decision to sign a nuclear cooperation deal with India, saying it made the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) "meaningless."

"Japan's cooperation with India would also provide North Korea, which withdrew from the NPT and is committed to nuclear development, with an excuse to justify its actions," he said.

The mayor urged Mr Abe to again take the leadership of the global anti-nuclear movement. "I call on the government of Japan to return to the origin of our pledge as an atomic-bombed country," he added. 

Film director Oliver Stone yesterday condemned the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, calling the US claim that they ended World War II a "tremendous lie."

Mr Stone, who is in Japan to promote a history documentary, said the Soviet Union's declaration of war on Japan in August 1945 was a "strong factor" behind the decision to incinerate the two cities.  "The United States was able to get away with it because we were the winners," he told Japan's Kyodo News. "But as a result we lost our moral compass."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most