7 August , 2020

Message on the 75th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki

Since the beginning of this year, the entire world has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in more than 14 million confirmed cases of humans being infected by the virus that has caused over 600,000 deaths as of mid-July, and the numbers keep increasing.

Although science is well advanced in the present day, inadequate resources are allocated to the betterment of human health. The findings prepared for the UN by the economics department at Oxford University show that the ongoing inadequate response to the impact of Covid-19 could result in 640 million people being infected and 1.7 million killed in the world’s low-income countries. The direct medical costs of treating 2.2 million patients in hospital critical care beds could amount to an estimated US$16.28 billion, while the focus on COVID-19 could also divert scarce health resources, leading to a further 1.7 million preventable deaths from HIV, TB and malaria.

At the same time, the international community must ensure that Covid-19 medication and vaccines are accessible to the people based on equity, not just on market-driven factors.

In other words, developing countries with scant resources to tackle this kind of pandemic are devastated. In Yemen, a war-torn country, a quarter of all those confirmed to have had the virus have died from it, five times the global average. According to a 10 July 2020 background paper on COVID-19 prepared by the UN’s emergency aid coordination body, or OCHA, US$90 billion would be needed to protect the world’s poorest 10 per cent from the primary and secondary effects of the pandemic. OCHA’s COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, or GHRP, which is a compendium of projects for the 2020 calendar year proposed in 63 at-risk and hardest-hit countries, appeals for donations of US$10.3 billion to deal with the worst effects of COVID-19 to be spent on a wide range of healthcare projects. Most likely, there will be drastic declines in levels of global assistance as potential donor governments face their own domestic problems. Even in highly industrialized countries, a large portion of people, especially the marginalized members of society, generally find it difficult or virtually impossible to have access to healthcare in the time of COVID-19. Most interestingly, the United States, the world’s most advanced industrialized nation and the number-one superpower in terms of military might, has the highest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths. Several other highly industrialized countries are not far behind in the sufferings of their citizens and economic woes caused by this pandemic.

COVID-19 comes at a time when arms race among nations continue. For example, the US Government is taking another step in the nuclear arms race by aiming to invest a huge budget on developing a new submarine-launched nuclear warhead design, known as the W93, which it hopes to have deployed by the year 2040. COVID-19 has proved that global military might and economic dominance do not necessarily ensure national stability and happiness. Governments should allocate more attention to use science and available resources to save lives and improve the standard of living of their peoples instead of excessively focusing on arming their countries with expensive arsenals. Indeed, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), or the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, adopted in 2017, has only 40 parties, none of which are countries in possession of nuclear weapons. This is despite the fact that 75 years ago the world witnessed the unfathomable human sufferings resulting from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians perishing instantly or consequently from nuclear radiation.

Each anniversary of the atomic bombings should remind us all of the abuse of science to imperil human lives.

The atomic bombing of Nagasaki is special to the Sata Foundation, whose logo depicts a photograph of the head of the statue of the Madonna of the Urakami Church in Nagasaki that was totally destroyed when the atomic bomb exploded some 500 metres away on 9 August 1945. I am very pleased that this Madonna of Nagasaki as a powerful symbol for humanitarianism – for a world living in peace, without nuclear weapons, but with the proper use of science and technology as well as the allocation of scarce resources for the betterment of humankind – has now been deservedly recognized during the visit by His Holiness Pope Francis. On 24 Nov 2019, during the first papal visit to Japan in 38 years, His Holiness Pope Francis, speaking at the Nagasaki Hypocentre Memorial of Atomic Bombing, condemned the “unspeakable horror” of nuclear weapons and urged world leaders to end the stockpiling of nuclear weapons, saying it offered their nations a false sense of security. “In a world where millions of children and families live in inhumane conditions, the money that is squandered and the fortunes made through the manufacture, upgrading, maintenance and sale of ever more destructive weapons, are an affront crying out to heaven”, he said.

When His Holiness celebrated Mass in Nagasaki's baseball stadium in the presence of around 35,000 people, he stopped to reflect before the severed head of the wooden statue of the Madonna recovered after the atomic bombing, which is the Sata Foundation’s symbol of world peace. This was widely reported in the news:

Please rest assured that the Sata Foundation will continue to pursue our humanitarian and peace missions insofar as practicable in the light of prevailing circumstances.

Your kind support for the Sata Foundation would be much appreciated.

Yasuhiko Sata
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Sata Foundation

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