The mayor of Hiroshima, Japan renewed his call for the elimination of nuclear weapons during his remarks on the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombing.
Mayor Kazumi Matsui addressed concerns in his peace declaration about what he views as the rise of self-centered nationalism around the world, urging world leaders to work together to eliminate all nuclear weapons, according to Time Magazine on Tuesday.
“Around the world today, we see self-centered nationalism in ascendance, tensions heightened by international exclusivity and rivalry, with nuclear disarmament at a standstill,” Matsui said at the ceremony remembering the victims of the bombing.
The United States bombed Hiroshima with a nuclear weapon on Aug. 6, 1945, killing 140,000 people. Three days later, the U.S. bombed Nagasaki with another nuclear weapon, killing another 70,000. The bombings are largely credited with ending World War II.
Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, said he wants Japan to serve as a bridge between ever-widening difference between nations with and without nuclear weapons.
“Japan is committed to serve as a bridge between nuclear and non-nuclear states and lead the international effort, while patiently trying to convince them to cooperate and have a dialogue,” Abe said.
The U.S. currently protects Japan, which hosts 50,000 U.S. troops, under its nuclear umbrella.
Japan has not signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which is the first legally binding international agreement to prohibit nuclear weapons, Time Magazine reported.
Critics say this inaction is insincere on Japan’s part, but the country maintains that U.S. nuclear weapons keep the country safe, according to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
Some of the other countries to not sign the treaty include Australia, France, Germany, the U.S., the United Kingdom, North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia.
Hostile nations to Japan include North Korea, which is about 650 miles away from the island and is currently developing nuclear weapons.
North Korea said on Aug. 1 that it conducted a test of a “newly developed” missile system under the supervision of its leader, Kim Jong Un.
The system, as described by the state-owned Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), is a “large-caliber multiple launch guided rocket system,” NPR reported. The weapon could possibly hit targets nearby, including South Korea and U.S. military bases, although the report didn’t specifically mention either the U.S. or South Korea.
Other weapons tests conducted by North Korea include a short-range missile test on May 5 and a “tactical guided weapon” on April 17.
Russia is also conducting nuclear-capable missiles tests, with Russian President Vladimir Putin saying on Monday that Russia will develop more nuclear weapons if the U.S. does.
The U.S. formally left a nuclear treaty with Russia on Friday, stating the Russians had violated terms of the agreement, a claim which Russia denies.