"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 the Prime Minister at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony

[Date] August 6, 2021
[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 76th 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.

The world still faces the trial of COVID-19, and resolute efforts continue to be made to overcome this trial.

In Japan too, there has been an ongoing nationwide spread of infections. We will overcome this disease at any cost, sparing no effort to restore at the earliest possible time our vibrant daily lives in which we feel at ease.

Seventy-six 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.

However, this beautiful city of Hiroshima admirably achieved reconstruction from the ruins thanks to the subsequent tireless efforts of its citizens. Standing before this city, I renew my determination to overcome the trial we now face and once more turn my thoughts to how precious peace is.

Last year marked the 75th anniversary since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly that convened not long after I assumed office as prime minister, I sent out a message to the world, stating, "Hiroshima and Nagasaki must never be repeated. With this resolve, Japan will spare no effort in realizing a world free of nuclear weapons while firmly upholding the Three Non-Nuclear Principles." Japan, as the only country to have experienced the horror of nuclear devastation in war, understands the inhumanity of nuclear weapons more than any other country on earth. It is important to steadily build up efforts over time towards the realization of a world free of nuclear weapons.

The international security environment has become severe in recent years and countries have differed on how to proceed with nuclear disarmament. To advance nuclear disarmament in such circumstances, Japan must serve as a mediator bridging the gap between countries with different standpoints and tenaciously promote realistic efforts.

In particular, it is critically important to maintain and strengthen the regime of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. To help precipitate a meaningful outcome at the upcoming Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty, the Government of Japan, utilizing the outcomes of the discussions of the Group of Eminent Persons for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament, will tenaciously continue its efforts to find concrete measures that can serve as a common foundation, with individual countries undertaking them together.

Having a correct understanding of the realities of the atomic bombings is the starting point for all manner of efforts towards nuclear disarmament. Working in tandem with atomic bomb survivors and countless other people eager to bring about a world free of nuclear weapons, Japan will pass down an accurate understanding of the inhumanity of using nuclear weapons and continue to actively engage in efforts to convey the realities of the atomic bombings.

The Government, accepting the necessity of relief measures covering health and medical services and welfare of atomic bomb survivors, will continue to advance relief measures in a comprehensive manner while staying in tune with atomic bomb survivors, who are advancing in years.

Regarding what is called the "black rain" lawsuit, for which a ruling was delivered on July 14, after extensive deliberation, I took the decision to return to the spirit of the Atomic Bomb Survivors' Assistance Act and not appeal the ruling. For the 84 plaintiffs, procedures for issuing the Atomic Bomb Survivors' Certificates have been completed by today, and we will swiftly advance consideration of how to provide relief to others in circumstances similar to the plaintiffs'.

Here in Hiroshima, which has now developed admirably as an International City of Peace and Culture, I pledge that Japan will make its utmost efforts for the realization of a world free of nuclear weapons and for the realization of eternal peace. I wish to conclude my remarks with my heartfelt prayers for the repose of the souls of those who fell victim to the atomic bombing here in Hiroshima. I also pray sincerely for the inner peace of the bereaved families and the atomic bomb survivors as well as all the participants today and the people of Hiroshima City.

SUGA Yoshihide

Prime Minister of Japan

August 6, 2021