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Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister

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

August 9, 2018

 [Provisional translation]

Seventy-three years ago today, a single atomic bomb was dropped here on Nagasaki, depriving a large number of people, said to amount to 70,000, of their precious lives. It reduced the city to ashes in an instant, and even those who escaped death have suffered hardships beyond description. Young people were also mercilessly deprived of their dreams and bright futures.

I reverently express my sincere condolences to the souls of the great number of atomic bomb victims.

I also extend my heartfelt sympathy to those still suffering even now from the aftereffects of the atomic bomb.

The tragedies of Nagasaki and Hiroshima must never be repeated. As the only country to have experienced the horror of nuclear devastation in war, Japan has a mission of persistently working to bring about “a world free of nuclear weapons.”

In recent years, differences in the approaches of various countries on nuclear disarmament have become evident.

In order to truly bring about “a world free of nuclear weapons,” it is essential to gain the cooperation of both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states, taking an accurate understanding of the tragic realities of the atomic bombings as a starting point. 

Japan, firmly upholding the “Three Non-Nuclear Principles,” is determined to serve tenaciously as a mediator bridging the gap between the two and lead the efforts put forth by the international community.

As one concrete effort, this autumn we will convene here in Nagasaki a meeting of the Group of Eminent Persons for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament, which we launched last year. Based on the knowledge of eminent persons to be gleaned through this group, Japan, working in close cooperation with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who joins us here today, will make active contributions so that the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to be held in 2020, the 50th anniversary of the treaty’s entry into force, will be a meaningful one.

Also, in order for the international community to work in unity to realize “a world free of nuclear weapons,” we must pass down the memory of that tragic experience as a memory held in common by all humankind, reaching beyond generations and national boundaries. People from around the world who visit Nagasaki and Hiroshima will witness the tragic realities of the atomic bombings and renew their desire for peace. Younger generations will hand down stories of experiences with the atomic bombings that have been passed on from atomic bomb survivors. As the only country to have experienced the horror of nuclear devastation in war, Japan, knowing more profoundly than any other nation the inhumanity of nuclear weapons, will steadily press forward with those efforts.

The Government, accepting the necessity of relief measures covering health and medical services and welfare of atomic bomb survivors, will stay in tune with atomic bomb survivors and continue to advance relief measures for them in a comprehensive manner. In particular, we are continuing to conduct screenings for recognizing atomic bomb diseases as quickly as we can so that we can convey the results as soon as possible.

In closing, here in Nagasaki, where prayers for eternal peace are offered continuously, I pledge that Japan will make its utmost efforts for the realization of “a world free of nuclear weapons” and eternal peace. I wish to conclude my remarks with my heartfelt prayers for the repose of the souls of those who fell victim to the atomic bombing here in Nagasaki. I also pray sincerely for the inner peace of the bereaved families and the atomic bomb survivors as well as all the participants today and the people of Nagasaki City.
Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister of Japan
August 9, 2018

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