Address by Prime Minister Abe at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Here today, on the occasion of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, I reverently express my sincere condolences to the souls of the atomic bomb victims. I also extend my heartfelt sympathy to those still suffering from the aftereffects of the atomic bomb.
On this very morning 69 years ago, a single bomb deprived well more than 100,000 people of their precious lives. It destroyed some 70,000 buildings and swept away the entire area through its hellish fires and its blast, turning the area to ruins. Those who survived were forced to endure unspeakable hardships of illness and disability and tribulations in their daily lives.
The enormous price that was paid should be regarded as an immense sacrifice. However, our forebears who built post-World War II Japan had etched deeply upon their hearts that they must never forget the people who perished in Hiroshima. It was in this spirit that they created, and then bequeathed to us, a homeland of peace and prosperity. We cannot help but find the most beautiful form of achievement in the streets of Hiroshima, full of greenery, where the continuous chirping of cicadas breaks the silence even now.
As the only country in human history to have experienced the horror of nuclear devastation in war, Japan bears a responsibility to bring about "a world free of nuclear weapons" without fail. We have a duty to continue to convey to the next generation, and indeed to the world, the inhumanity of nuclear weapons.
Last year at the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Nuclear Disarmament, I declared my determination to achieve “a world free of nuclear weapons.” The draft resolution on nuclear disarmament submitted by the Government of Japan had more than 100 co-sponsor states for the first time and was adopted by an overwhelming majority. Working towards the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, Japan is also advancing realistic and practical nuclear disarmament by directly urging the heads of state and government of relevant nations to ratify the Treaty and through other such efforts.
In April this year, the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative Ministerial Meeting among foreign ministers was held here in Hiroshima. From this site of an atomic bombing, our thoughts were sent out powerfully to the world. Next year will be the milestone year of the 70th year since the bombing, and the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which is held once every five years, will also be convened. We will advance our efforts to realize “a world free of nuclear weapons” still further.
There are individuals who are still now enduring pain and suffering caused by the atomic bombing and waiting to be recognized as having an atomic bomb disease. At the end of last year, the Government conducted a review of the criteria for granting recognition, bearing in mind the discussions held by relevant persons over three years. The Government will continue to make good-faith efforts to enable a large number of people to receive such recognition as soon as possible.
This morning, as we mourn the souls of the victims in Hiroshima, I pledge that I will redouble my efforts to carry out these duties. I would like to conclude with my heartfelt prayers once more for the repose of the souls of the victims. I would also like to extend my best wishes to the bereaved families and to the atomic bomb survivors. I will close my address with a pledge that Japan will firmly uphold the "Three Non-Nuclear Principles" and spare no efforts in working towards the total abolition of nuclear weapons and the realization of eternal world peace, so that the horror and devastation caused by nuclear weapons are not repeated.
Prime Minister of Japan
August 6, 2014