"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Address by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony

[Date] August 6, 2016
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional Translation
[Full text]

Today, at the opening of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony on the 71st anniversary of the atomic bombing, I reverently express my sincere condolences to the souls of the great number of atomic bomb victims.

I also extend my heartfelt sympathy to those still suffering even now from the aftereffects of the atomic bomb.

On a bright sunny morning 71 years ago, the dropping of a single atomic bomb deprived people said to number well more than 100,000 of their precious lives and reduced Hiroshima to ashes in an instant. In this devastation, even those who narrowly escaped death experienced unbearable hardships.

However, thanks to the tireless efforts of its citizens, Hiroshima achieved reconstruction that transformed the city and admirably established its position as an International City of Peace and Culture.

This May, President Barack Obama visited Hiroshima as the first sitting U.S. president to do so. The president of the only nation to have used nuclear weapons witnessed the realities of atomic bombings and, in the presence of atomic bomb survivors, appealed to the world to pursue a world free of nuclear weapons and strongly urged countries holding nuclear weapons to have the courage to pursue such a world.

I am certain that this, together with the G7 Foreign Ministers' Hiroshima Declaration, gave great hope to the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as people throughout Japan and around the world, who have never given up their hope for "a world free of nuclear weapons."

The disastrous experiences that took place in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 71 years ago must never be repeated.

It is the responsibility of us who live in the present to keep making efforts continually towards that end. As the only country to have experienced the horror of nuclear devastation in war, Japan will appeal for the importance of maintaining and strengthening the regime of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) while firmly upholding the "Three Non-Nuclear Principles." Japan will continue to make various efforts to bring about "a world free of nuclear weapons" by calling for cooperation from both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states and having world leaders and young people become directly acquainted with the tragic reality of the atomic bombings.

In a year in which we will take a new step forward, I pledge once again here in Hiroshima that Japan will make its utmost efforts for the realization of eternal world peace.

Japan has enhanced its comprehensive relief measures covering health and medical services and welfare for atomic bomb survivors on the basis of the Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Law. We will steadily promote relief measures by continuing to take into proper consideration the circumstances of atomic bomb survivors, who are advancing in years. We are working in particular to conduct screenings for recognizing atomic bomb diseases as quickly as we can so that we can convey the results as soon as possible.

I wish to conclude with my heartfelt prayers for the repose of the souls of those who fell victim to the atomic bombing here in Hiroshima, where people continue to pray for eternal peace. I also extend my best wishes to the bereaved families and to the atomic bomb survivors and pray sincerely for the inner peace of all the participants today and the people of Hiroshima City.

Shinzo Abe

Prime Minister of Japan

August 6, 2016