NAGASAKI -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres mingled with children here and made a paper crane -- a symbol of peace -- before he attended a memorial marking the 73rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of this southern Japan city on Aug. 9, 1945.
Guterres, who became the first U.N. secretary-general to attend the Nagasaki ceremony, visited the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum in the morning that day to be welcomed by 56 sixth-year pupils from the Nagasaki Municipal Yamazato Elementary school waving U.N. flags. The children also presented the U.N. chief a garland made from paper cranes.
Guterres made a paper crane together with the youngsters. Nobuatsu Uraoka, 11, who taught the U.N. chief how to make the crane, said, "He made it nicely. I hoped we could send a message of peace together with him."
Guterres also toured the museum as Director Akitoshi Nakamura guided him through the exhibits, which included a clock that had stopped ticking at 11:02 a.m., the time the "Fat Man" plutonium bomb detonated over Nagasaki more than seven decades ago, and a video explaining the damage caused by the U.S. atomic attack.
Following his visit to the museum, Guterres told a news conference that he reconfirmed the fact that nuclear disarmament was an important challenge for human beings to prevent there from ever being another Nagasaki, and to prevent atomic bombs from ever being used again. "I join my voice to the voices of hibakusha saying 'No more Nagasaki, no more Hiroshima, no more bombs in use'," Guterres said.
(Japanese original by Emi Aoki, Kyushu News Department; and Yoshihito Asano, Nagasaki Bureau)