Nagasaki's mayor has criticised Japan's government for failing to sign on to an international nuclear disarmament effort as the country marked the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of his city.
Mayor Tomihisa Taue's criticism stemmed from Japan's refusal to sign in April a document in which nearly 80 countries unconditionally pledged to never use nuclear weapons.
He said Japan's inaction "betrayed expectations of the global community".
The document, prepared in Geneva by a UN committee, is largely symbolic because none of the signatories possess nuclear weapons. None of the countries known to have a nuclear arsenal including the United States, Russia, India and Pakistan signed it.
Japan also does not possess a nuclear device and has pledged not to produce any although some hawkish members of the ruling party say the country should consider a nuclear option.
Mr Taue said that as the world's only victim of atomic bombing, Japan's refusal to come on board the initiative contradicted its non-nuclear pledge.
"I call on the government of Japan to return to the origin of our pledge as an atomic-bombed country," he said at a peace park near the epicentre of the blast.
Tokyo apparently refused to sign the document because of a security arrangement with the United States, which in theory could give the US an option to deploy nuclear weapons from Japan to counter the threat of North Korea. That implied Japan's government would approve a nuclear option under some circumstances, Mr Taue said.
NHK World: Nagasaki marks 68th anniversary of atomic bombing
In the peace declaration, Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue criticized the Japanese government for not signing a joint statement at a meeting on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in Switzerland in April. The statement calls for a ban on the use of nuclear arms under any circumstances.
He said the government betrayed the expectations of global society. He said the refusal to sign the statement could imply that the government would approve of their use under some circumstances.
The mayor urged the government to renew its resolution that Japan will never allow anyone else to become victims of a nuclear bombing and to take clear action for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
The Mainichi: Nagasaki mayor criticizes gov't's refusal to demand that nuclear powers shun nuclear weapons
NAGASAKI -- As Nagasaki marked the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing in a ceremony on Aug. 9, the city's mayor Tomihisa Taue criticized the national government for its passive attitude toward nuclear disarmament.
In the Nagasaki Peace Declaration presented at the ceremony, Mayor Taue pointed out that during the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, which was held in Geneva in April, Tokyo had stopped short of signing a joint statement urging that nuclear weapons not be used.
"The Japanese government did not sign (the statement), betraying the expectations of global society," Taue said. "If the Japanese government cannot support the remark that 'nuclear weapons (should never be) used again under any circumstances,' this implies that the government would approve of their use under some circumstances."
Taue also expressed worries about Japan's resumption of negotiations on nuclear power cooperation with India, which is not a party to the NPT.
"Cooperating on nuclear power with India, who has not signed the NPT, would render the NPT meaningless as its main tenet is to stop the increase of the number of nuclear-weapon states," he said. "Japan's cooperation with India would also provide North Korea, which withdrew from the NPT and is committed to nuclear development, with an excuse to justify its actions."
The mayor then urged the central government to take proactive measures to fulfill its duty as the only nation to have suffered an atomic bombing.
Moreover, Mayor Taue expressed grave concern about the moves to revise the war-renouncing Constitution, citing a phrase from the Constitution's preamble which reads, "Japanese people have resolved that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government."
Taue underscored the importance of not forgetting the terrible experiences of war and atomic-bombing. "In order not to forget this original desire for peace, it is essential to impart the experiences of war and atomic devastation to succeeding generations."
He also talked about Senji Yamaguchi, an atomic-bombing survivor, or hibakusha, who died in July this year at the age of 82. Yamaguchi had previously visited the United Nations, where he called for the abolition of nuclear arms, saying, "No more hibakusha."
"Listen to their (hibakusha's) voices," Mayor Taue said, noting that the average age of the hibakusha now surpassed 78. "Please consider whether or not you will allow the existence of nuclear weapons in the world today, and in the future world of your children."