Nagasaki's mayor has slammed Japan's government for its refusal to sign an international nuclear disarmament accord as the city marked the 68th anniversary of its bombing by the United States.
The Japanese government's refusal to sign a statement rejecting nuclear weapons usage was condemned on Friday by Nagasaki's mayor as the city remembered its bombing by the US at the end of World War II (pictured above).
Mayor Tomihisa Taue said Japan as the only nation actually bombed - at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 – was "betraying the expectations of global society" by not signing the agreement.
"This stance contradicts the resolution that Japan would never allow anyone else to become victims of a nuclear bombing," Taue said at Friday's ceremony at the peace park close to the 1945 epicenter.
Taue said a statement prepared in April for the next Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review meeting had already been signed by 80 countries. It rejects the unconditional use of nuclear weapons.
Anti-nuclear sentiment is resurgent in Japan following the 2011 tsunami-induced nuclear plant disaster at Fukushima, with most of the country's reactors switched off.
Taue also offered his city's support for reconstruction around Fukushima. He also criticized a Japanese nuclear cooperation deal with India.
"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.
Japan has responsibility, says Abe
About 6,000 people, including ageing survivors and US ambassador John Roos, attended Friday's remembrance ceremony in Nagasaki, where 74,000 residents were killed on August 9, 1945.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has pushed to export Japanese nuclear plants and technology to emerging countries such as Turkey and Vietnam, said Japan had a "responsibility to realize a world free of nuclear weapons."
Stone questions explanation
Visiting US filmmaker Oliver Stone told the Kyodo news agency that the widely held explanation that the bombs ended WWII was a "tremendous lie".
"It's easy to look at the issue simply that Americans dropped the bomb to end World War II because Japanese militarists would not give up," Stone was quoted as saying.
"That would be a surface explanation", he said.
Historians have long disagreed on whether the twin attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought a speedier end to the war by forcing Japan's surrender and preventing many more casualties in a land invasion planned for later in the year.
Aside from the tens of thousands killed instantly in Hiroshima and Nagasaki many more died later from radiation sickness and cancer.
ipj/hc (dpa, AP, AFP)