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Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister

Address by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


[Provisional Translation]

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 68 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.

We Japanese are the only people to have experienced the horror of nuclear devastation in war.  As such a people, we bear a responsibility to bring about "a world without 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, the Government of Japan submitted to the United Nations General Assembly a draft resolution on nuclear disarmament through the involvement of 99 co-sponsor nations, the largest number ever, including the United States and the United Kingdom, and it was adopted by an overwhelming majority.

This year, we began a program in which members of the young generation serve as "Youth Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons."   Next year, we will convene here in Hiroshima a Foreign Ministers' Meeting of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), a forum that brings together non-nuclear weapons states, in which Japan has consistently taken a leading role.

We will exert every possible effort to enable individuals who are still now enduring pain and suffering and waiting to be recognized as having an atomic bomb disease, to receive that recognition as soon as possible.  Eminent persons, representatives of atomic bomb victims, and other relevant persons have been undertaking discussions with great urgency in order to listen to the voices of atomic bomb victims and move forward with better policies to support them.

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.

Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister of Japan
August 6, 2013

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