JAPAN - Nagasaki prelate takes anti-nuclear plea to UN
Published Date: May 5, 2010
Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki (left) with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
UNITED NATIONS (UCAN) — Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki has met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the opening day of the May 3-28 UN 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Welcoming the archbishop, Ban said that such an appeal from a religious leader, a Catholic bishop, is of great importance.
The archbishop handed the secretary general a copy of a joint statement that he and Bishop Atsumi Misue of Hiroshima issued last February calling on world leaders “to take a courageous step toward the total abolition of nuclear weapons and the realization of a world without wars.”
Along with the statement, he gave Ban a Korean-language guidebook to Nagasaki’s churches and photos showing Urakami Cathedral before and after its destruction by an atomic bomb on August 9, 1945. He also presented a photo showing the statue of St. Agnes in the cathedral before the bombing; the statue was later presented to the UN.
Archbishop Takami talks with
When the archbishop told the secretary general he had just arrived in New York after taking the famous “Bombed Maria” on a pilgrimage to Rome and Spain, Ban said that he had visited a nuclear test site in Kazakhstan, and reaffirmed his commitment to the elimination of nuclear weapons.
The “Bombed Maria” is the charred face of a wooden statue of Mary that stood in Urakami Cathedral. The rest of the statue was destroyed in the atomic explosion that occurred almost directly over the church.
The secretary general told the archbishop that he plans to visit Hiroshima on August 6, the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of that city. Ban said he would consider accepting an invitation by the archbishop to also visit Nagasaki at that time.
According to Japan’s ambassador to the UN, Shigeki Sumi, there were many people who wanted private meetings with the secretary general before the conference, but only Archbishop Takami and Japan’s State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Tetsuro Fukuyama were given that opportunity.
JA09630/1600 May 5, 2010 31 EM-lines (332 words)