HIROSHIMA--In his annual Hiroshima Peace Declaration, Mayor Kazumi Matsui urged nations to seize the momentum generated by a July U.N. conference decision to work harder at ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

Matsui was speaking at a ceremony here Aug. 6 at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to mark the 72nd anniversary of the city's destruction from atomic bombing.

He referred to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons approved July 7 at a U.N. conference and said, "the governments of all countries must now strive to advance further toward a nuclear-weapon-free world."

During the ceremony, Matsui, joined by bereaved family members, placed the names of hibakusha atomic bomb survivors who died over the past year into the Cenotaph for the A-Bomb Victims.

Wreaths were placed in front of the cenotaph by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and representatives of other nations.

A moment of silence was observed at 8:15 a.m. as the Peace Bell rang out to sound the moment the bomb detonated over the city, killing tens of thousands of residents.

Using last year's peace declaration as a reference point, Matsui repeated his description of nuclear weapons as "absolute evil."

Referring to the 122 nations that voted for the nuclear weapons prohibition treaty, Matsui said, "they demonstrated their unequivocal determination to achieve abolition."

The nuclear powers did not even attend the conference at which the treaty was approved. Neither did Japan and other allies of nuclear powers protected by their nuclear umbrella.

Pointing to Japan's failure to take part, Matsui said, "I call especially on the Japanese government to manifest the pacifism in our Constitution by doing everything in its power to bridge the gap between the nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states."

Meanwhile, Abe did not refer to the nuclear weapons prohibition treaty in his speech at the Aug. 6 ceremony.

The Japanese government has made it clear that it will not sign the treaty.

“The treaty will deepen confrontation between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states further and therefore does not match our country's stance of placing importance on cooperation between them,” said former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida previously.

(This article was written by Yuki Kubota and Sonoko Miyazaki.)