Address by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
Here today, on the occasion of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, I reverently pay sincere tribute to the souls of the atomic bomb victims. Furthermore, I express my heartfelt sympathy for those suffering from the aftereffects of the atomic bomb.
Hiroshima, which 63 years ago became a burnt-out wasteland after the atomic bombing that claimed tens of thousands of precious lives, has now developed as one of the largest cities in Japan and has an honorable position in the international arena as a city representing peace. I believe that these achievements are the fruits of efforts by Hiroshima citizens, who have not only rebuilt their city from the ashes, but have also remained devoted, as people of the city that was bombed, to furthering the cause of peace around the world.
The Government of Japan, on its part, has been committed to the path of international peace throughout its post-war history. Japan has held firm in its determination, as the only country to have experienced nuclear devastation, that the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should never be repeated.
Hiroshima symbolizes peace. The training program on international peace cooperation activities for young people from Japan and Asia began last year at the Hiroshima Peacebuilders Center. This program affords learners an opportunity to truly understand the importance of peace.
A peaceful and stable international community is a precious asset for Japan's safety and prosperity. To protect and nurture such an asset, Japan as a Peace Fostering Nation must play a responsible role in the international community. At the recent G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit, the Leaders Declaration welcomed, for the first time ever, the ongoing reductions of nuclear weapons and called on all nuclear-weapon States to undertake such reductions in a transparent manner.
Here today, on the soil of Hiroshima, I pledge once again that Japan will firmly maintain the Three Non-Nuclear Principles and lead the international community toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the realization of a permanent peace.
For those suffering from the consequences of radiation exposure, the Government will implement comprehensive support measures covering health, medical care, and welfare. Furthermore, in March of this year the Government established a new policy for the recognition of atomic bomb diseases, aiming to officially recognize as many people as possible. In June, the Government enacted the revised Law to Support the Survivors of the Atomic Bomb, in order to make it easier for the survivors living overseas to obtain the Atomic Bomb Survivor's Certificate. I will continue to work hard to support as many of the sufferers as possible.
I would like to conclude my address by offering my heartfelt prayers for the repose of the atomic bomb victims' souls and my best wishes for the future to the atomic bomb survivors and the bereaved families, and for the further prosperity of the City of Hiroshima.
August 6, 2008
Prime Minister of Japan