By Alan Tristram
Kapiti peace campaigner John Murray has just received a letter from the Mayor of Hiroshima in Japan marking the 69th anniversary of the first atom bombing of a city.
In his letter, Mayor Matsui Kazumi says: Sixty-nine years later. The burning sun takes us back to that day — August 6, 1945. A single atomic bomb renders Hiroshima a burnt plain. From infants to the elderly, tens of thousands of innocent civilians lose their lives in a single day. By the end of the year, 140,000 have died.
Mr Murray, a former moderator of NZ’s Presbyterian Church, says he shares the call by the Japanese mayor for everyone throughout the world to accept the wish of the hibakusha – the bomb survivors — and walk with them on the path to nuclear weapons abolition and world peace.
And in his letter to Mr Murray and other peace campaigners, Mayor Kazumi says: To avoid forgetting that sacred sacrifice and to prevent a repetition of that tragedy, please listen to the voices of the survivors.
“Japan is the only A-bombed nation. Precisely because our security situation is increasingly severe, our government should accept the full weight of the fact that we have avoided war for 69 years thanks to the noble pacifism of the Japanese Constitution.
“We must continue as a nation of peace in both word and deed, working with other countries toward the new security system. Looking toward next year’s Non Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, Japan should bridge the gap between the nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states to strengthen the NPT regime.
He also asks the Japanese government to show more compassion for the hibakusha and all those suffering from the effects of radiation.
He concludes: Here and now, as we offer our heartfelt consolation to the souls of those sacrificed to the atomic bomb, we pledge to join forces with people the world over seeking the abolition of the absolute evil, nuclear weapons, and the realization of lasting world peace.
Every year on August 6, the city of Hiroshima holds a Peace Memorial Ceremony to pray for the peaceful repose of the victims, for the abolition of nuclear weapons, and for lasting world peace. During that ceremony, the Mayor issues a Peace Declaration directed toward the world at large.
Mr Murray told KIN that as long as the need persists, Hiroshima’s mayor will continue to issue these declarations calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons from the face of the earth.
This is part of Hiroshima’s effort to build a world of genuine and lasting world peace where no population will ever again experience the cruel devastation suffered by Hiroshima and Nagasaki.