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

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Here today, on the occasion of the Nagasaki Peace Memorial Ceremony on the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing, 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.

Sixty-nine years ago today, a single bomb deprived more than 70,000 people of their precious lives. It completely burned down or destroyed the homes of some 120,000 people, and those who survived were forced to endure hardships of illness and disability as well as tribulations in their daily lives that are beyond words.

We who experienced the agony of atomic bombings not once but twice have, despite these ordeals, endured the suffering and the sorrow and raised ourselves to our feet once more, rebuilding our homeland and restoring Nagasaki as a beautiful city. Today is also a day on which we offer solace to the souls of the victims and extend our thanks for the strenuous efforts and achievements of our forebears.

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 in Hiroshima. From that 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 Nagasaki, 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 9, 2014

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