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JAPAN-NUCLEAR Feb-26-2010 (310 words) xxxi

Bishops in Japan ask world leaders to work for end of nuclear weapons

By Catholic News Service

TOKYO (CNS) -- Bishops from Hiroshima and Nagasaki called on world leaders to work toward the total abolition of nuclear weapons.

In an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama and the Japanese government Feb. 26, the bishops said it was time to take the "courageous step," reported the Asian church news agency UCA News.

"Nuclear weapons deprived over 100,000 people of their lives in an instant at the end of the previous world war. And bomb survivors continue to suffer physically and spiritually even now," wrote Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki and Bishop Joseph Atsumi Misue of Hiroshima.

"We ... demand that the president of the United States, the Japanese government and the leaders of other countries make utmost efforts to abolish nuclear weapons," they said.

The bishops described it as "sad and foolish to abuse the progress that humanity has made in the fields of science and technology, in order to destroy lives as massively and swiftly as possible, and to earn more profit by producing weapons."

They said there are more than 20,000 nuclear weapons in the world and it was essential to reduce the number.

The bishops urged world leaders to reach an agreement on reducing nuclear weapons at the Nuclear Security Summit in April and the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in May.

"We sincerely hope that world leaders will reach an agreement to take a secure step toward the abolition of nuclear weapons, beyond their own interests," they said.

They added that the Japanese government "seems to have an extremely passive attitude to nuclear arms-reduction policies, not to mention the abolition of such arms."

They said Japan should demonstrate and implement what it will do toward the total abolition of nuclear weapons.

"Take a courageous step toward the total abolition of nuclear weapons and the realization of a world without wars," they said.

END


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