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Commentary: The mayor of Nagasaki’s peace message to Illinois and the world via Chicago Tribune

Seventy-five years ago, on Aug. 9, 1945, the second atomic bomb following Hiroshima was detonated over our city, Nagasaki, Japan. The city was left in smoldering ruin by the blast wave and ferocious heat, and more than 150,000 people were killed or injured.

In order to prevent a repetition of the tragedy wrought by nuclear weapons, Nagasaki residents have continued to convey the reality of the atomic bombing and have appealed for the abolition of nuclear weapons. We are not making an appeal as past victims, but as global citizens who live in a world where the danger of nuclear weapons is very real; we are sounding the alarm to the continued threat that they pose. The passing of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by the United Nations in 2017 fulfilled the long-awaited wishes of the hibakusha, the atomic bomb survivors, and civil society who have been longing for a peaceful world.

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Last November, Pope Francis visited Nagasaki and delivered an explicit and powerful message to the world. His Holiness stated that a peaceful world without nuclear weapons is possible, realizing this ideal calls for “involvement on the part of all.” The initiatives taken by local authorities and civil society to support the treaty play an important role in building consensus that the “TPNW is the international norm.”

Last January, Evanston adopted the first resolution in Illinois which supports the TPNW and asks Congress to ratify it. I hope other Illinois cities, including Chicago, will adopt similar resolutions. The “Hibakusha International Appeal” is one activity undertaken at the grassroots level calling for the early entry into force of the TPNW. If such movements gain traction, it would create momentum that can sway the government.

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Although my planned visit to Chicago this May was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I look forward to making this visit in the near future and jointly creating a “culture of peace” under the slogan “Let Nagasaki be the last atomic-bombed site in the world.”
Tomihisa Taue is the mayor of Nagasaki, Japan.

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