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From Asahi Shimbun

Japanese version

'Towards a Nuclear-Free World
    From Japan:
         Thoughts from a Country Hit by Nuclear Bombs - 2012'(3)

A Sincere Apology for Acts of Aggression
By Hitoshi Motoshima,  Former mayor of Nagasaki City


As the mayor of Nagasaki, I read aloud the August 9th peace declaration 16 times. I repeatedly called attention to the continuing mental and physical suffering of the survivors of the atomic bombing, and their bitter cries, grief and resentment.

However, people around the world never heeded this call.

Why? I think it was because Japan's aggression and infliction of suffering during the preceding Asian-Pacific War led to a great chasm between people in Japan and those in the rest of the world, a chasm which has not yet been bridged. This is a view I have continued to hold since I said in 1988, "I think the Emperor bore responsibility for the war."

The atomic bomb was an effective way to end Japan's aggression without further delay.

This view is never embraced in Japan, but it is a common perception held overseas, particularly in the Asia Pacific region. The atomic bombing was a consequence of Japan's invasion and assault. If Japan had not started the war, no one would have dropped any atomic bombs on it.

What we should do is continue to apologize from the bottom of our hearts to people in the Asia Pacific region, including China and the Korean Peninsula. Otherwise, Japanese cannot make a persuasive call for a nuclear-free world even by speaking of the damage done by the bomb.

Every year on January 1st, I join a sit-in demonstration in front of the Peace Statue. This year was no exception. I sometimes feel embarrassed to act so out-of-character, and I don't think it pays off much. Still, I sit in because it is a commitment that I have imposed on myself.

The atomic bomb is a weapon that can lead to the end of mankind. Japan is the only nation that has ever suffered atomic bombings, and that is why it should continue to exert a greater effort than other nations to eliminate the bombs. I am struggling to pursue a world without nuclear weapons.


Hitoshi Motoshima was born in Shinkami Goto-cho, Nagasaki in 1922 and served as mayor of Nagasaki from 1979 to 1995. He was shot by a member of a right-wing organization in 1990 because of his statement regarding the Emperor's war responsibility. As mayor, Mr. Motoshima paid a visit to South Korea in 1992 and expressed his regret to A-bomb survivors there. He has been a long-time advocate for Chinese victims of forced recruitment.

(This was compiled through an interview by Tsukasa Kimura.)