RIA Novosti | 29 July 2010
UN chief to pay tribute to victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombingsUNITED NATIONS — UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will visit Japan next week to pay tribute to the victims of U.S. nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II and hold talks with the country’s government, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky has said.
“The secretary general hopes that his visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki will draw attention to the urgent need to achieve global nuclear disarmament,” Nesirky said on Wednesday.
Ban will be the first UN chief to take part in an annual ceremony commemorating the victims of the 1945 tragedy, he said, adding that the exact dates of the visit will be announced later.
Ban is expected to begin his visit with talks with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada in Tokyo, Nesirky said.
The memorial ceremony will take place on August 6. On this day in 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima; Nagasaki was attacked three days later.
The bombings, the world’s only nuclear attacks, killed at least 215,000 people and survivors have developed various illnesses from the exposure to radiation, including cancer and liver disease.
The UN chief is also expected to visit memorials to his Korean compatriots who have fallen victims to the U.S. attacks, the UN spokesman said.
Earlier this month, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree declaring September 2 as a National Day of the End of WWII. Now, in addition to Victory Day on May 9, Russia will also commemorate the capitulation of Japan in 1945 which officially ended WWII hostilities.
The Japanese authorities have criticized the move, with Okada saying that it will not “be any good to Russia-Japan relations.”
Source: RIA Novosti
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