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On 72nd A-bomb anniversary, Hiroshima highlights Japan’s refusal to join U.N. nuke ban via The Japan Times

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In the city’s annual Peace Declaration, Matsui stopped short of demanding that Japan join the treaty, but urged the government to “manifest the pacifism in our Constitution by doing everything in its power to bridge the gap between the nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapon states, thereby facilitating the ratification.”

He said the countries that adopted the treaty “demonstrated their unequivocal determination to achieve abolition,” and that now is the time for all governments to “strive to advance further toward a nuclear weapon-free world.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe avoided any mention of the U.N. nuclear weapons ban treaty in his speech at the ceremony.

“For us to truly realize a ‘world without nuclear weapons,’ the participation of both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states is necessary,” he said.

Later in the day, after meeting with representatives of seven local hibakusha groups who protested Japan’s refusal to participate in the U.N. treaty, Abe defended the decision to stay out, saying “a realistic approach” is needed to reach the goal of having a world without nuclear weapons.

“We think (the treaty) must not result in the distance between the nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapon states being further widened and the realization of a world without nuclear weapons getting further away,” Abe said at a news conference.

“By firmly maintaining our three non-nuclear principles and continuing to appeal to both sides, Japan is determined to lead the international community,” Abe said in his speech, referring to the government’s policy of not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear weapons on its territory.

At the news conference, however, Abe said he did not see any need to turn the three-point policy into law.

About 50,000 people came to the park for the ceremony, at which 80 nations plus the European Union were represented.

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Hiroshima native Masaharu Masuda, 70, offered a prayer as he does every year in memory of his parents, who both experienced the bombing. The midsummer heat reminded him of how his older sister always wore long sleeves when they were younger to hide the keloid scars on her arms.

Masuda said he is disappointed by the Japanese government’s “half-hearted” response to the nuclear ban treaty, and worries that the world is losing interest in Hiroshima’s message.

“People used to say with feeling, ‘No more Hiroshimas,’ but I hear it less and less these days,” he said.

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