Nagasaki mayor attacks Japanese prime minister over nuclear arms stance

Tomihisa Taue says Japan’s failure to sign international accord rejecting use of nuclear weapons ‘betrayed the expectations of global society’

Doves take flight at Nagasaki Peace Park during a ceremony last Friday to mark the 68th anniversary of the world’s second atomic bomb attack. Photograph: AP Photo/Kyodo News

Doves take flight at Nagasaki Peace Park during a ceremony last Friday to mark the 68th anniversary of the world’s second atomic bomb attack. Photograph: AP Photo/Kyodo News

 



The mayor of Nagasaki has launched an attack on Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, accusing him of not doing enough to abolish nuclear weapons.

Tomihisa Taue told an audience at the city’s Peace Park that Japan’s failure to sign an international accord rejecting the use of nuclear weapons “betrayed the expectations of global society”.

Mr Abe said last 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.

Contradiction
He justified the 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 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.

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 yesterday to hear Mr Taue’s speech, commemorating the destruction of Nagasaki by a US plutonium bomb on August 9th, 1945. Some 70,000 people were killed in the blast. Thousands more died from radiation. About 140,000 died in the Hiroshima bomb, three days earlier.

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

Mr Taue also criticised his decision to sign a nuclear cooperation deal with India.