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Germany Urges Support For A World Without Nuclear Weapons

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The German Government has reiterated the need for the international community to urgently work towards the attainment of a world without nuclear weapons.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock gave the charge during her recent visit to Nagasaki, the Japanese city destroyed by a United States nuclear bomb 77 years ago.

Around 70,000 people were killed as an immediate result of the attack by the United States, with a further 75,000 injured. Three days earlier, a nuclear bomb devastated Hiroshima. The two attacks led Japan to capitulate on August 15, 1945.

The minister, who was on her inaugural visit to Japan said the attack on Nagasaki served as a reminder to work towards a world without nuclear weapons “even if we are a very long way away from it”. The minister’s visit to Japan is forms part of her first official visit to a number of Asian countries.

On the occasion of her first official two-day visit to Japan, she is to discuss bilateral cooperation in the context of Germany’s Indo-Pacific policy. She was also billed to hold talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, according to information released by the Foreign Ministry in Berlin.

She noted that Germany had to work towards “peace and a world without nuclear weapons” in the light of the fact that there had recently been an increase rather than a decline in nuclear weapons.

She further observed that Nagasaki, along with Hiroshima, represented a symbol as a warning against the use of nuclear weapons, adding that Germany continued to support disarmament, “even if the global situation is currently completely different”, she said in clear reference to the war in Ukraine.

Earlier, Baerbock visited the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, laying a wreath to mark the destruction of the city on August 9, 1945.

As a 41-year-old mother of two small daughters, she spent some time looking at images showing children injured by the blast. She also met survivors of the attack.

In her address, Baerbock recalled that a bell from Nagasaki now hung in a church in her home city of Hanover that was destroyed in World War II.

Shigemitsu Tanaka, 82, a grey-haired survivor with a powerful voice, described the white flash of the explosion. He and his family survived, although many of his relatives, including his parents, became ill and some died of cancer.

He issued a call to work along with young people for a world without nuclear weapons, saying that “as the power of the individual is limited, we have to act as friends.”

A discussion was also planned with students of the Nagasaki Junshin Catholic University on policies for peace and globalization.

The university was founded by a Roman Catholic order in 1950 as a university for women. It continues to work in the field of education for girls and women and also runs a care home for survivors of the 1945 bombing. Men are now also accepted by the institute.


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