"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 Nagasaki Peace Memorial Ceremony

[Date] August 9, 2021
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

Today, at the opening of the Nagasaki 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 today, the city of Nagasaki was reduced to ashes in an instant by an atomic bomb. Yet through the extraordinary efforts of its citizens, it rose from the ashes and achieved remarkable reconstruction as an International Culture City symbolizing peace and culture. Seeing this city beautifully achieve reconstruction, we again feel strongly that there is no trial that cannot be overcome, and we feel acutely how precious peace is.

Last year marked the 75th anniversary since the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. 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." As the only country to have experienced the horror of nuclear devastation in war, Japan has the unceasing mission of advancing steadily, step by step, the efforts of the international community towards realizing "a world free of nuclear weapons."

Amidst the severe security environment and the difference in countries' standpoints on nuclear disarmament that we see today, it is imperative that countries eradicate distrust through mutual engagement and dialogue and make efforts over time to forge a common foundation. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the foundation of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime in which 191 countries and regions participate, including both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states. 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 individual countries can undertake together.

With atomic bomb survivors advancing in age, it is becoming increasingly vital for us to communicate far and wide the realities of the atomic bombings, across generations and beyond national borders. We are determined to continue our efforts to inherit the survivors' recollections of the devastation of nuclear weapons and pass them on. 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. We will work in particular to conduct screenings for recognizing atomic bomb diseases as quickly as we can.

In closing, here in Nagasaki, 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 with my heartfelt prayers for the repose of the souls of those who fell victim to the atomic bombing here in Nagasaki. 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 Nagasaki City.

SUGA Yoshihide

Prime Minister of Japan

August 9, 2021