Hiroshima Bombing Anniversary Sees Mayor Push For Japan To Ban Nuclear Weapons

On the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, the mayor of the city is calling for Japan to sign a treaty that would ban nuclear weapons, Japan Today reports.

August 6 marks the 74th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and the event which, combined with the bombing of Nagasaki a few days later, effectively ended World War II. And on this solemn day in the city, Mayor Kazumi Matsui is urging Japan to sign an international treaty that would ban weapons of the kind that nearly leveled the city seven decades ago.

"I call on the government of the only country to experience a nuclear weapon in war to accede to the [atomic bomb survivors'] request that the TPNW be signed and ratified," he said.

Matsui was referring to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. According to the United Nations, the treaty seeks to ban the proliferation of nuclear weapons, including prohibiting signatories from developing, testing, producing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, and using or threatening to use nuclear weapons.

The resolution to introduce the treaty was made on July 7, 2017, with 122 member nations voting in favor, one voting as opposed (The Netherlands), and one abstaining from voting (Singapore), as the U.N. reported at the time.

According to The International Coalition To Abolish Nuclear Weapons, no nuclear-armed country has supported the treaty. Similarly, several countries that do not have nuclear weapons, such as Australia, oppose the treaty.

Japan does not have any nuclear weapons but has not signed the treaty, either. Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has stated that the treaty is "not based on the real aspects of security." He did say, however, that Japan will act as a "mediator between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states" and "take the lead in making such efforts."

In fact, fears of a renewed arms race have emerged since the United States on Friday formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Similarly, North Korea and Iran are both believed to be developing nuclear weapons, and Japan is potentially within easy range of North Korean nuclear-armed missiles.

Regardless, Matsui believes that Japan needs to get on board with international efforts to abolish nuclear weapons. He points to Japan's 1947 Constitution, which specifically forbids Japan from waging war.

"I urge Japan's leaders to manifest the pacifism of the Japanese Constitution by displaying leadership in taking the next step toward a world free from nuclear weapons," he said.