German Foreign Minister Maas to commemorate Hiroshima victims

Hiroshima (dpa) – German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stressed the dangers of nuclear weapons at the start of his visit to Japan on Thursday.

On Friday, he is set to commemorate the victims of the first atomic bomb attack in Hiroshima 74 years ago.

Nuclear disarmament efforts will also be discussed at the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting, which Maas subsequently plans to attend in Nagoya.

Maas said on his arrival in Hiroshima that he wanted to get a picture of “the blind destructive power of nuclear weapons” and promote disarmament.

“If we want to live in a safe world, it can only be a world without nuclear weapons. But for that we have to work together internationally,” he said.

When the US dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima in August 1945, the city was almost completely destroyed. By the end of 1945 some 140,000 people had died. Tens of thousands died subsequently as a result of the long-term effects of the radiation.

Three days after the attack on Hiroshima, the US dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki, where 70,000 people died. Following the double strike, Japan surrendered in the World War II.

The G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Nagoya marks the end of Japan’s presidency of the group of 20 leading economic powers.

The agenda includes policies on Africa, free trade and the UN’s goals for sustainable development. The annual summit took place place in Osaka in June.

Saudi Arabia is due to take the G20 chair on December 1 and is planning the next summit in Riyadh in November 2020.

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