Tokyo, Aug 9 (EFE).- Nagasaki on Wednesday commemorated the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombing that devastated the southern Japanese city in a low profile ceremony due to an approaching typhoon in the area.
Residents offer prayers for victims of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki during a memorial mass at Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture, 09 August 2023. EFE-EPA/JIJI PRESS JAPAN OUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The ceremony, which is normally held in front of the Peace Statue, located near the hypocenter of the explosion, was moved to the Nagasaki Dejima Messe convention hall, the first time it has been held indoors since 1963.
Attendants offer flowers for victims of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki during an indoor memorial service in Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture, 09 August 2023. EFE-EPA/JIJI PRESS JAPAN OUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The approach of Khanun, now a severe tropical storm, continued to cause serious flight and train disruptions in southwestern Japan on Wednesday.
People visit Nagasaki Peace Park to offer prayers for victims of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki past the Peace Statue (Rear) in Nagasaki, southwestern Japan, 08 August 2023 after the city was forced to change schedule of the memorial service for victims due to typhoon Khanun. EFE-EPA/JIJI PRESS JAPAN OUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY
It has also led authorities to order the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.
Workers remove materials for the memorial service for victims of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki past the Peace Statue (L-Rear) at Nagasaki Peace Park in Nagasaki, southwestern Japan, 08 August 2023 after the city was forced to change schedule of the memorial service for victims due to typhoon Khanun. EFE-EPA/JIJI PRESS JAPAN OUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who was unable to travel to the city due to the typhoon, sent a video message for the occasion.
“Against the backdrop of the widening division within the international community over approaches to nuclear disarmament and Russia’s nuclear threat, the road to achieving ‘a world without nuclear weapons’ has become all the more difficult,” he said in his address.
“But it is precisely because of these circumstances that Japan, holding the presidency of the G7 and non-permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council, will lead global efforts towards realizing such a world,” he added.
The Japanese prime minister said it was important to build on the momentum of May’s G7 summit in Hiroshima, where the first-ever atomic bomb was dropped, and make progress towards nuclear disarmament.
A minute of silence was observed at the exact time the bomb exploded, 11:02 am, in an act in which the survivors of the bombing, known as hibakusha, took part.
Kishida also emphasized the importance of “maintaining and strengthening” the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which came into force in 1970, at the height of the Cold War.
The treaty prohibits the possession of nuclear weapons by any country apart from the United States, United Kingdom, China, France and Russia (then the Soviet Union).
In a message read out at the ceremony, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said that “the elimination of nuclear weapons is the United Nations’ highest disarmament priority.”
“We must never again allow such devastation to occur,” he added.
An atom bomb, nicknamed Fat Man, hit Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, three days after the US dropped the first bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
An estimated 74,000 people were killed by the Nagasaki bombing alone by the end of that year.
Nagasaki has been one of the most important ports in southern Japan for centuries and was of great importance during World War II due to its commercial activity, which included the production of ships, artillery and other military equipment.
To date, an estimated 400,000 people have lost their lives in both cities as a result of the bombings. EFE