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Address by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony

On this day 61 years ago, this city of Hiroshima was reduced to ruins in an instant through the explosion of an atomic bomb, and the precious lives of more than 100,000 people were lost.

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 after-effects of the atomic bomb.

The Government of Japan has developed comprehensive support measures covering health, medical care, and welfare to assist the victims of the atomic bombs. In the autumn of last year, the Government revised its system in order to allow atomic bomb victims living abroad to apply for financial assistance via Japanese overseas establishments in their country of residence. The Government will continue to work sincerely to promote the measures taking into account the actual situations of the surviving atomic bomb victims.

Hiroshima has rebuilt itself from the ashes of war and achieved remarkable development as an international city of peace and culture. I would like to express my heartfelt respect to the countless people who have consistently devoted their energies to the reconstruction and development of Hiroshima down to the present time.

In my capacity as Prime Minister of Japan, I have attended each of the five memorial services and peace ceremonies held in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively, since 2001. As the only country ever to have experienced nuclear devastation, Japan has a responsibility to convey its experience to the international community.

In the 61 years since the end of the Second World War, Japan has embodied and implemented its pledge not to engage in war, based on its commitment not to repeat the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki anywhere else.

At today's ceremony, in front of the souls of the deceased atomic bomb victims and the citizens of Hiroshima, I renew my pledge that Japan will continue to lead the international community for the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the realization of a permanent peace, observing the peace clause in its Constitution and firmly maintaining the Three Non-Nuclear Principles.

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 atomic bomb survivors and the bereaved families, and for the further prosperity of the City of Hiroshima.

August 6, 2006
Junichiro Koizumi
Prime Minister of Japan