Nagasaki mayor: 'Threat of nuclear weapons being used is increasingly becoming real'

Nagasaki mayor: 'Threat of nuclear weapons being used is increasingly becoming real'
© STR/JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images

The mayor of Nagasaki, Japan, warned that the threat of nuclear weapons is becoming increasingly real as the city marked the 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing that killed 70,000. 

At an event at Nagasaki Peace Park, Mayor Tomihisa Taue read a peace declaration and urged world leaders to do more to push for a nuclear weapons ban, according to The Associated Press

In his comments, Taue singled out the U.S. and Russia for increasing risks by scrapping the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, according to the newswire. 

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"As a result, the threat of nuclear weapons being used is increasingly becoming real,” Taue said. 

He reportedly urged the U.S. and Russia to show a workable way towards their nuclear disarmament at the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty review process next year. 

Taue also urged Japan’s government and lawmakers to sign the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear weapons, according to the AP. 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe criticized the treaty he has repeatedly refused to sign for not being realistic, adding that none of the nuclear states has joined and it is not widely supported by non-nuclear states. 

“The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted without taking into consideration the reality of the harsh national security environment,” Abe said at a news conference, according to AP. 

He also said that Japan faces threats of development and modernization of nuclear weapons from “neighboring countries in the region.” 

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Taue disagreed with Abe’s claims, with the mayor stating that “among the nuclear-weapon states and countries under the nuclear umbrella, there have been voices stating that it is too early for such a treaty. That is not so. Nuclear arms reductions are far too late in coming,” according to the AP. 

Tokyo renounces its own possession, prosecution or hosting of nuclear weapons, but as a U.S. ally Japan hosts 50,000 American troops and it's protected by the U.S. nuclear umbrella, the newswire notes. 

Shigemi Fukabori, an 89-year-old survivor who was 14 at the time of the bombing, also spoke at the event representing Nagasaki survivors. Fukabori said he doesn't want “anyone else to have to go through this.” 

He almost instantly lost four siblings in the attack, the AP reported. 

“Nagasaki bears a responsibility as a witness of catastrophic results the nuclear weapon caused to humanity and environment,” Fukabori said in his speech, according to AP. “I hope as many people as possible to join us, especially the young generations to inherit our baton of peace and keep running.”