Address by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the Nagasaki Memorial Service for the 56th Nagasaki Peace Ceremony

9 August 2001

Here today on the occasion of the Nagasaki Peace Ceremony marking the 56th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, I reverently pay sincere tribute to the souls of the countless atomic bomb victims. Furthermore, I express my heartfelt sympathy for those suffering from the after-effects of the atomic bomb.

Fifty-six years ago to this day, a great number of precious lives were lost in a split second when the atomic bomb was dropped, leaving Nagasaki in ruins. Today, the extraordinarily distinguished efforts of the citizens of Nagasaki are bringing about dramatic developments to Nagasaki, an International Culture City. We will never be able to forget that precious lives lost to the horrors of the atomic bomb serve as the cornerstone of today's peace and prosperity.

As the only country ever to have experienced nuclear devastation, Japan observes its Peace Constitution and firmly maintains the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. Furthermore, Japan continues to appeal to the international community for the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the realization of a permanent peace so that the horrors of nuclear weapons may never again be repeated.

At the United Nations General Assembly in October 2000, Japan proposed a draft resolution entitled, "A Path to the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons," which was adopted with overwhelming support. The resolution contains such concrete measures towards nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation as the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). In September, the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT will be held in New York. Japan has thus far endeavored to effect the entry into force of the Treaty on various occasions and will strive to make this conference a success, using it as a further opportunity to appeal more actively to other countries.

Given such circumstances, the success of the Nagasaki Global Citizens' Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was greatly significant as an approach that orchestrated the efforts of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in and outside of Japan towards the elimination of nuclear weapons. Furthermore, the World Conference of Mayors for Peace through Inter-city Solidarity is currently being held in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and it is extremely reassuring to know that many cities of the world are uniting to raise international public attention regarding the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Furthermore, with regard to the atomic bomb victims, I have been working to enhance comprehensive support measures spanning health care, medical treatment and welfare based on the Law to Support the Survivors of the Atomic Bomb. I will continue to work wholeheartedly to promote support measures fully taking into positive consideration the circumstances of the atomic bomb victims who are advancing in years.

I previously had the pleasure of attending this Peace Ceremony as Minister of Health and Welfare. Here again today, this time as Prime Minister, I hereby pledge before the souls of the atomic bomb victims to renew my resolve towards peace and that Japan will make its utmost efforts to lead the international community in promoting measures for nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the realization of a permanent peace.

I would like to conclude my address by offering my heartfelt prayer for the repose of the atomic bomb victims' souls and my best wishes for the future to the bereaved families and the atomic bomb survivors. I also pray for the good health of those in attendance and the citizens of Nagasaki City.

Junichiro Koizumi
Prime Minister of Japan