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Tuesday, 6 August, 2002, 06:56 GMT 07:56 UK
Hiroshima's mayor hits out at Bush
People gather in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing
Japan has vowed never to become a nuclear power
Japan's mayor of Hiroshima has warned US President George W Bush on the 57th anniversary of the atomic bomb attack on the city not to expose the world to the risk of nuclear war.


I strongly urge President Bush to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki... to see for himself what nuclear arms do to humankind

Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba
Speaking at a ceremony in Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park on Tuesday to commemorate the attack, Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba said that following the events of 11 September the threat of nuclear war had increased.

"Just like the phrase 'history repeats itself,' threats and possibilities of nuclear wars and use of nuclear weapons are growing as the memory of Hiroshima starts to fade," he said.

"I strongly urge President Bush to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki... to see for himself what nuclear arms do to humankind."

Pledge

More than 200,000 people died in Hiroshima when, at 0815 local time on 6 August 1945, the US B-29 bomber aircraft Enola Gay dropped a nuclear bomb on the city.

Three days later another was dropped on the city of Nagasaki, killing an estimated 74,000 people.

Hiroshima in ruins following the US attack, 1945
More than 200,000 people were killed in the Hiroshima attack

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was also present at the ceremony, along with 45,000 people, and he used the opportunity to reiterate Japan's promise that it would never become a nuclear power.

"As the only nation to suffer nuclear bombing in the human history, we resolve not to repeat the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to strictly abide by our peace constitution," he told those gathered at the ceremony.

Speculation

Mr Akiba also warned the US Government that it was not the world's peacekeeper and that it did not have the right to determine how countries governed themselves.

He said that in the event of a potential nuclear attack it would only be the innocent that suffered.

"The US Government has not been given the right to impose a 'Pax Americana' and to decide the fate of the world" he said.

"In this environment, only the weak become victims, many of them women, children and the elderly."

There has been much speculation in recent weeks that the US may be about to launch an attack on Iraq, whom it accuses of attempting to obtain chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

See also:

03 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
15 Jun 02 | Americas
06 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
29 May 02 | South Asia
28 Mar 02 | Americas
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