G7 health ministers lay flowers at statue for Nagasaki A-bomb victims

by May 15, 2023Featured Article, News

Health ministers from the Group of Seven advanced economies on Sunday laid flowers before the Peace Statue in Nagasaki to offer prayers for victims of the 1945 U.S. atomic bomb, ahead of the summit beginning next week in Hiroshima.

It was the first time for G7 ministers to pay floral tribute together at the Nagasaki Peace Park, in which the statue is located, according to the prefectural government. The health chiefs visited there after concluding their two-day talks.

The southwestern city of Nagasaki was the second city to be devastated by a U.S. atomic bomb, three days after Hiroshima in western Japan became the first target to be hit by such a catastrophic weapon on Aug 6, 1945.

Before wrapping up their meeting, the G7 health ministers adopted a joint statement referring to the lessons of the novel coronavirus pandemic, stressing the necessity of equal access to testing, vaccines and treatment, especially in developed nations.

The visit by the G7 chiefs to the peace park in Nagasaki came as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has voiced eagerness to pitch his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons at the summit in Hiroshima amid Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine.

Kishida, a lawmaker representing Hiroshima, said Saturday that it is “unacceptable to trample on the history of no use of nuclear weapons,” adding that he is set to welcome the G7 leaders at the Peace Memorial Park on the opening day of the three-day summit from Friday.

It would mark the first occasion for G7 heads of state and government leaders to visit the park together, including those from three nuclear powers of the United States, Britain and France.

On Sunday, meanwhile, a protest rally was held in Hiroshima by citizens opposing the G7 summit. Around 180 people gathered from across Japan, calling for an end to the grouping, which they believe is incapable of resolving wars and abolishing nuclear weapons.