Nagasaki mayor pleads for end to nuclear threat on bomb anniversary

Posted on August 10, 2017

TOKYO -- Nagasaki must be the last place to suffer an atomic bombing, its mayor said Wednesday, marking 72 years since the devastating American nuclear attack on the Japanese city with a passionate call for denuclearization.

The anniversary comes as tensions over North Korea’s rogue weapons program and increasingly bellicose rhetoric from United States President Donald J. Trump rattle the region and put nuclear threats in the spotlight.

“A strong sense of anxiety is spreading across the globe that in the not too distant future these weapons could actually be used again,” said Mayor Tomihisa Taue at a ceremony at Nagasaki Peace Park.

“Nagasaki must be the last place to suffer an atomic bombing,” he said.

A bell tolled as thousands of people, including ageing survivors and relatives of victims, observed a minute’s silence at 11:02 am (0202 GMT), the exact moment that the blast struck on August 9, 1945 in the closing days of World War II.

Japan is the only country to have suffered atomic attacks.

The US dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, killing around 140,000 people. The toll includes those who survived the explosion itself but died soon after from severe radiation exposure.

Three days later, the US dropped a plutonium bomb on the port city of Nagasaki, killing some 74,000 people.

Japan announced its surrender in World War II on August 15, 1945. -- AFP