Visit by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Charlie Flanagan TD, to Hiroshima27 February 2017
Visit by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Charlie Flanagan T.D., to Hiroshima
Speaking at Hiroshima today, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Charlie Flanagan T.D., said:
“No one could come to this place and not be moved by the power of its testimony. These spaces and monuments rightly serve to stop us in our tracks and in our thoughts, taking us out of the everyday and into a reminder of the complexity at the heart of our shared humanity, a humanity that can cause and endure incredible suffering and yet, from that suffering, build a message of determination, of peace and of hope. I have come here today to pay my respects, to the people of Hiroshima and to the people of Japan, to those living here today in the shadow of this sorrow and to those who live on in their hearts and in their thoughts.”
The Minister is visiting Hiroshima, which is in the homeland of his counterpart, Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida, as part of an official visit to Japan.
During his time in Hiroshima the Minister visited areas of the Peace Memorial Park and laid a wreath at the Cenotaph. The Minister said:
“In Ireland, we have many commemorative sites where we honour our ancestors and contemplate the past and there is a palpable sense here at this shelter of souls both of a sorrowful history and of the resilience and endurance of the human spirit. To honour and respect those who suffered and died here, we can do nothing more appropriate than to take on the challenge of their epitaph and ensure that that what was done in this place shall never be repeated.
“Ireland shares with Japan the desire to achieve a world free from nuclear weapons. This has been a driving force of our nation’s foreign policy and of our engagement within the United Nations and one to which our people and our government remain wholeheartedly committed. My visit here today has served to renew my determination that we must do all in our power to serve that goal.”
Minister Flanagan also met with Mayor of Hiroshima and with the Secretary General of the Mayors for Peace Group, noting that Ireland has a long and close connection and solidarity with the people of Hiroshima.
After meeting with Ms Yoshiko Kajimoto, one of the Hibakusha, (a survivor of the atomic bombing), the Minister said:
“Hearing the powerful testimony of your living witness here today is a profound and humbling experience, for which I am most grateful. I believe that we should all be grateful to the people of Japan for their leadership role in raising global awareness of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.
"Your testimony and everything I have seen and heard here today presents to the world the incontrovertible truth of what nuclear warfare really means. This is a place where the past asks a question of the present. Ireland will continue to work with Japan and with all states in the United Nations, to ensure that the answer to that question is the right one. This must include the full and faithful implementation of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.”
27 February 2017