Activities of Secretary-General in Japan, 7-9 August 2018

SG/T/3228
13 August 2018

Activities of Secretary-General in Japan, 7-9 August 2018

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Tokyo from New York in the evening of Tuesday, 7 August.

On Wednesday morning, 8 August, the Secretary-General was interviewed by the Japanese television broadcaster, NHK.

He then met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Speaking to the press afterwards, the Secretary-General said that his visit had a very special meaning, as he was in Japan to express his deep solidarity with the Japanese people who have experienced two atomic bombs.  He also called Japan one of the United Nations most important partners, commending its efforts to promote peace and security, sustainable development and human rights.

The Secretary-General then flew to Nagasaki, where he visited Urakami Cathedral, a Catholic church which had been destroyed by the atomic bomb.

He was interviewed by Kyodo News before holding a meeting with the Mayors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, as well as other local officials.

The Secretary-General also met with several hibakusha, survivors of the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.  He said afterwards that this was an unforgettable experience, adding that he would do everything in his power to support their message that there can be no more Hiroshimas and no more Nagasakis.  We must make sure nuclear weapons are never used again, he said.

The Secretary-General began his day on Thursday, 9 August, with a breakfast meeting with Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

He visited the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, where he folded a paper crane with schoolchildren, and the National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb.

At a press conference, the Secretary-General said that he was deeply humbled and deeply impressed by the hibakusha.  He expressed his admiration for the people of Nagasaki for their enormous resilience to build a vibrant community that is the city of today.

The Secretary-General then participated in the seventy-third Nagasaki Peace Ceremony, becoming the first United Nations Secretary-General to do so.  In his remarks, he said that, sadly, 73 years on, fears of nuclear war are still with us.  Millions of people live in a shadow cast by the dread of unthinkable carnage.

The Secretary-General said that the total elimination of nuclear weapons remains the highest disarmament priority of the United Nations.  He added: “Let Nagasaki and Hiroshima remind us to put peace first every day; to work on conflict prevention and resolution, reconciliation and dialogue; and to tackle the roots of conflict and violence.”  (See Press Release SG/SM/19160.)

The Secretary-General returned to New York on Thursday evening.

For information media. Not an official record.