Date
28 May 2017
A young girl prays before dozens of lighted candles during the 70th anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bombing. Photo: AP
A young girl prays before dozens of lighted candles during the 70th anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bombing. Photo: AP

Abe defends military stance in Nagasaki rites

Japan on Sunday remembered the atomic bombing of Nagasaki 70 years ago, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe leading government officials and other dignitaries in official ceremonies.

Abe said Japan will continue to push for a world without nuclear weapons and reaffirmed his commitment to what Tokyo calls the “three non-nuclear principles” — that it won’t possess or make nuclear weapons and won’t introduce them on Japanese territory.

He was criticized for not mentioning the principles in his Hiroshima speech three days earlier.

Nagasaki mayor Tomihisa Taue drew applause with veiled criticism of legislation pushed by Abe to expand the role of Japan’s military overseas.

Taue said many Japanese felt “unease” that the country’s postwar commitment to pacifism might be fading.

At a news conference in Nagasaki, Abe defended the security legislation as “essential to protect our peaceful way of life”.

He said Japan needs to work more closely with the US to respond to growing security threats.

Bells tolled at 11:02 a.m. local time, the moment the bomb exploded over the southern Japanese city on Aug. 9, 1945, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

More than 70,000 people were killed as a nuclear mushroom rose over the city.

The US delegation included Rose Gottemoeller, the State Department’s undersecretary for arms control.

She also attended a ceremony in Hiroshima three days earlier marking the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of that city.

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