The 2017 Wellington Botanic Garden 72nd Hiroshima & Nagasaki Day


8th Secretary-General of the United Nations

Ban Ki-moon

2012 Statement



6 August 2012 


Secretary-General's Message to

the Peace Memorial Ceremony

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[delivered by Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs]

Each year on the sixth of August, people throughout the world turn their thoughts to the city of Hiroshima.

They think about the implications of the human catastrophe that occurred here
 in 1945.

They remember the tens of thousands of civilians who perished on that fateful day.

They contemplate the incredible hardships endured by the survivors, their families, and generations to follow.

Yet this day on which we reflect on a tragic past is also time to recognize what the citizens here have accomplished in rebuilding their great city.

Hiroshima has become rich with the comforts of modern life.  It also has a wealth of wisdom to share with all nations about the vital need for nuclear disarmament.

For many decades, your mayors and concerned citizens have shared your legacy and appealed for urgent measures to outlaw all nuclear weapons.

Your message is being heard.  I am very pleased that the testimonies of many hibakusha are being translated into several languages.  In support of these efforts, the United Nations has just launched a multimedia website of hibakusha telling their stories. It is very important that these words be heard and understood in all countries, especially by the younger generation.

The United Nations Secretariat has also sponsored international “Art for Peace” and “Poetry for Peace” contests, challenging young people everywhere to imagine a world free of nuclear weapons.  In many ways, our collective future rests on their understanding and support for this goal.

On this day, in this city, let me proclaim again: there must never be another nuclear attack – never.

The elimination of such weapons is not just a visionary goal, but the most reliable way to prevent their future use.

People understand that nuclear weapons cannot be used without indiscriminate effects on civilian populations.

Security experts and defence analysts have come to understand that nuclear weapons, far from ensuring a balance of power, are inherently destabilizing.

Such weapons have no legitimate place in our world.  Their elimination is both morally right and a practical necessity in protecting humanity.

The more countries view nuclear weapons as unacceptable and illegitimate, the easier it will be to solve related problems such as proliferation or their acquisition and use by terrorists.

This is why I have supported efforts to negotiate a nuclear weapons convention, or a framework of instruments with the same purpose of eliminating such weapons.

The tragedy in Hiroshima decades ago continues to resonate today.  In remembering those lost, in recognizing the hibakusha, and in considering the legacy we will leave to future generations, I urge all here today to continue your noble work for a nuclear-weapon-free world.  I am proud to be your partner in this great cause.


 Associated  6 August 2012  Address Given At Hiroshima

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Hiroshima, Japan, 6 August 2012

Secretary-General's message to the World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs

[delivered by Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs]


2011 Statement

"Verified nuclear disarmament should be pursued today."

U.N. Secretary-General

The following is a message from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, delivered on Aug. 6, 2011 by Sergio de Queiroz Duarte, U.N. high representative for disarmament affairs, on the anniversary of the Aug. 6, 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima.


Throughout the world, the arrival of the sixth of August offers a solemn occasion for remembrance, respect, reflection and recommitment.

Today, we remember the great human tragedy that occurred in this beautiful city on that fateful day in 1945. We pay our respects to the memory of the tens of thousands of men, women and children who perished that day, and to the hibakusha who have survived to tell their stories to future generations so that such a catastrophe will never again occur.

Today, we also reflect on the world as it has been, the world as it is now, and the world as it can and should be -- a world free of nuclear weapons. And we recommit ourselves to pursue this goal with all the reason, passion and imagination we can summon.

Last year, I had the honour to become the first United Nations Secretary-General to attend this Peace Memorial Ceremony. Like others who have journeyed to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I, too, will never forget that visit.

I left more convinced than ever of the importance of universal adherence to the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter, which include the duty to refrain from the threat or use of force, the obligation to settle disputes peacefully, and the need to pursue disarmament and the regulation of conventional armaments.

Nuclear disarmament is especially important because if we fail to achieve it, our other goals will also be in grave jeopardy. International peace and security is not a prerequisite for nuclear disarmament.

Quite the contrary, verified nuclear disarmament itself would make an immense contribution to international peace and security, and should be pursued today, not deferred because of the false notion that it should be undertaken only in a world fully at peace.

This is a cause that should unite all people, everywhere. This is a cause that reminds us of our common humanity and our responsibility to build a world that is more humane and peaceful than the imperfect one we share today.

I wish to convey my deepest respect for the efforts by the citizens and elected officials of Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- together with all the people of Japan -- in pursuing this cause for so many years. Today, I reaffirm my commitment to continue working with you in partnership until this great goal is finally achieved.




2012 Commemoration 

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui makes the peace declaration during the ceremony marking the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombing at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, 

Western Japan, Monday, August 6, 2012.

 Kazumi Matsui (Asahi Shimbun file photo)


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Hiroshima's Peace Declaration

6 August 2012

8:15 a.m., August 6, 1945. Our hometown was reduced to ashes by a single atomic bomb. The houses we came home to, our everyday lives, the customs we cherished--all were gone: “Hiroshima was no more. The city had vanished.

No roads, just a burnt plain of rubble as far as I could see, and sadly, I could see too far. I followed electric lines that had fallen along what I took to be tram rails. The tram street was hot. Death was all around.” That was our city, as seen by a young woman of twenty. That was Hiroshima for all the survivors. The exciting festivals, the playing in boats, the fishing and clamming, the children catching long--armed shrimp--a way of life had disappeared from our beloved rivers.

Worse yet, the bomb snuffed out the sacred lives of so many human beings: “I rode in a truck with a civil defense team to pick up corpses. I was just a boy, so they told me to grab the ankles. I did, but the skin slipped right off. I couldn’t hold on. I steeled myself, squeezed hard with my fingertips, and the flesh started oozing. A terrible stench. I gripped right down to the bone. With a ‘one-two-three,’ we tossed them into the truck.” As seen in the experience of this 13-year-old boy, our city had become a living hell. Countless corpses lay everywhere, piled on top of each other; amid the moans of unearthly voices, infants sucked at the breasts of dead mothers, while dazed, empty-eyed mothers clutched their dead babies.

A girl of sixteen lost her whole family, one after the other: “My 7-year-old brother was burned from head to toe. He died soon after the bombing. A month later, my parents died; then, my 13-year-old brother and my 11-year-old sister. The only ones left were myself and my little brother, who was three, and he died later of cancer.” From newborns to grandmothers, by the end of the year, 140,000 precious lives were taken from Hiroshima.

Hiroshima was plunged into deepest darkness. Our hibakusha experienced the bombing in flesh and blood. Then, they had to live with aftereffects and social prejudice. Even so, they soon began telling the world about their experience. Transcending rage and hatred, they revealed the utter inhumanity of nuclear weapons and worked tirelessly to abolish those weapons. We want the whole world to know of their hardship, their grief, their pain, and their selfless desire.

The average hibakusha is now over 78. This summer, in response to the many ordinary citizens seeking to inherit and pass on their experience and desire, Hiroshima has begun carefully training official hibakusha successors. Determined never to let the atomic bombing fade from memory, we intend to share with ever more people at home and abroad the hibakusha desire for a nuclear-weapon-free world.

People of the world! Especially leaders of nuclear-armed nations, please come to Hiroshima to contemplate peace in this A-bombed city.

This year, Mayors for Peace marked its 30th anniversary. The number of cities calling for the total abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020 has passed 5,300, and our members now represent approximately a billion people. Next August, we will hold a Mayors for Peace general conference in Hiroshima. That event will convey to the world the intense desire of the overwhelming majority of our citizens for a nuclear weapons convention and elimination of nuclear weapons. The following spring, Hiroshima will host a ministerial meeting of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative comprising ten non-nuclear-weapon states, including Japan. I firmly believe that the demand for freedom from nuclear weapons will soon spread out from Hiroshima, encircle the globe, and lead us to genuine world peace.

March 11, 2011, is a day we will never forget. A natural disaster compounded by a nuclear power accident created an unprecedented catastrophe. Here in Hiroshima, we are keenly aware that the survivors of that catastrophe still suffer terribly, yet look toward the future with hope. We see their ordeal clearly superimposed on what we endured 67 years ago. I speak now to all in the stricken areas. Please hold fast to your hope for tomorrow. Your day will arrive, absolutely. Our hearts are with you.

Having learned a lesson from that horrific accident, Japan is now engaged in a national debate over its energy policy, with some voices insisting, “Nuclear energy and humankind cannot coexist.” I call on the Japanese government to establish without delay an energy policy that guards the safety and security of the people. I ask the government of the only country to experience an atomic bombing to accept as its own the resolve of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Mindful of the unstable situation surrounding us in Northeast Asia, please display bolder leadership in the movement to eliminate nuclear weapons. Please also provide more caring measures for the hibakusha in and out of Japan who still suffer even today, and take the political decision to expand the “black rain areas.”

Once again, we offer our heartfelt prayers for the peaceful repose of the atomic bomb victims. From our base here in Hiroshima, we pledge to convey to the world the experience and desire of our hibakusha, and do everything in our power to achieve the genuine peace of a world without nuclear weapons.



The City of Hiroshima

6 August 2012


2011 Message from the Mayor of Hiroshima

It is a great honor to be sending my greetings on the occasion of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Day Commemoration.

On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb reduced Hiroshima to ashes and took tens of thousands of precious lives. The pain inflicted on the citizens of Hiroshima is simply indescribable—their beloved hometown obliterated, family and friends lost forever.

With our hibakusha aging and many of them still suffering from the aftereffects of radiation, I am determined to have their experiences and strong desire for peace absorbed and wholeheartedly accepted by future generations and to have the desire for peace spread throughout the world. I am convinced that disseminating the hibakushamessage will eventually lead to the realization of their most cherished wish, the abolition of nuclear weapons.

To achieve this goal, the City of Hiroshima, together with more than 4,800 member cities of Mayors for Peace around the globe, has been promoting the 2020 Vision Campaign for the total elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020. After the bombing, it was said that nothing would grow in Hiroshima for 75 years and the year 2020 will be its 75th anniversary.

As part of my efforts to build global momentum for nuclear abolition, I am exploring the possibility of hosting the 2015 NPT Review Conference. This conference would bring heads of government and ambassadors worldwide, including those of all nuclear-armed states, to Hiroshima. I am eager for world leaders and millions of people from around the world to come to Hiroshima, where the tragic memory of the bombing is still a living reality. I want everyone to understand the horrific human damages wrought by nuclear weapons and fully share the wish of the hibakusha.

As New Zealand continues to be a strong advocator of non-nuclear policy, I believe that this event, held in your capital with a wish for peace, will definitely help to raise public awareness for a world free of nuclear weapons. I would like to offer my deepest respect to everyone involved in this significant event.

I now ask each of you to make Hiroshima’s wish your own. Please support the Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign and strive with us toward lasting world peace for humankind.

In closing, I offer my warmest wishes for the success of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Day Commemoration.

August 2011



The City of Hiroshima