On August 6, the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, DPJ President and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda attended the Atomic Bomb Victims Memorial Peace Prayer Ceremony, a Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony held at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima City. PM Noda offered flowers, prayed for the repose of the souls of atomic bomb victims, and called for world peace. The ceremony was attended by representatives from 71 nations and the European Union, including member states of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) possessing nuclear power: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France.
In his address, PM Noda stated, “I reverently pay sincere tribute to the souls of the atomic bomb victims. Furthermore, I express my heartfelt sympathy for those still suffering from the aftereffects of the atomic bomb.” He remarked that as the only country to have experienced nuclear attacks, Japan had a responsibility to convey to all of humankinds and the future of our planet the memories of the catastrophe and inspire a global movement toward the creation of a world without nuclear weapons. He pledged that Japan would uphold its Constitution and firmly maintain the Three Non-Nuclear Principles in an effort to realize nuclear abolition and eternal world peace.
Noda pointed out that Japan is reaching a critically important stage in its history with regard to efforts to pass on the experiences of atomic bombings because those who can speak about their direct experiences of atomic bombing are now advancing in their years. He stated, “(We) will continue to highlight the importance of a world without nuclear weapons and will push forward with various kinds of efforts to ensure that memories of Japan's atomic bomb experiences are passed on, both across national borders and across generations.”
Touching on the plight of those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear power station accident, PM Noda promised to make every effort to rebuild the infrastructure needed for daily life, stating “We aim to establish an energy structure in the mid to long term in a form that will be reassuring for the people of Japan, under a basic policy of reducing our dependence on nuclear power”.
After the ceremony, Noda visited a nursing home for those affected by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima City, accompanied by Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Yoko Komiyama, and Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Joe Nakano. Noda again offered his prayers to those whose precious lives were taken by the atomic bombing, and reconfirmed his resolve that the world never see such a catastrophe again. He offered condolence monetary and flowers to the representative of the residents, saying, “Please take good care of your health in this extremely hot season.”
A full English translation of the prime minister’s speech is available at the following link: http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/noda/statement/201208/06hiroshima_e.html