Mayor Tomihisa Taue, who spoke at Nagasaki Peace park, urged Japan to create a nuclear-free area in Northeast Asia and not stay under the U.S. nuclear umbrella. This was a reference to the U.S. promise that it would use its nuclear weapons to defend allies.
Taue also called out Russia and the United States, which have the largest arsenals of nuclear weapons, to do more for nuclear dearmament. He expressed concern that nuclear states are reversing their disarmament efforts and are enhancing and miniaturizing nukes.
Taue urged Japan's government not to abandon nuclear disarmament and asked them to look into creating a non-nuclear-weapons-free area in Northeast Asia.
Nagasaki survivors, along with other participants in the ceremony, stood silently for a minute to remember more than 70,000.
The mayor called Japan's lawmakers and government to sign the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which went into effect January 1.
Tokyo gives up nuclear weapons production and hosting, but Japan is an ally of the United States. Japan has 50,000 troops and is covered by the U.S. nuke umbrella. Japan's post-WWII security arrangements make it difficult to convince Japan to sign the treaty. Japan has increased its military and enhanced defense cooperation with other nuclear-weapons countries like Britain and France to combat threats from North Korea, China, and others.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Sauga stated that the security environment was severe and that world views are deeply divided on nuclear disarmament. He said that it was necessary to eliminate distrust and promote dialogue, as well as create a common ground for discussion.
Taue called for significant progress towards nuclear disarmament at the next year's Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference, "starting by greater steps from the U.S.A. and Russia to decrease nuclear weapons."
He asked Suga's government for assistance in accelerating medical and welfare support to the elderly atomic bombing survivors (or hibakusha), whose average age now exceeds 83 years.