TOKYO—The mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two Japanese cities that were attacked with atomic bombs at the end of World War II, have strongly criticized North Korea for conducting a nuclear test.
In a letter of protest Tuesday, Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba told North Korean strongman Kim Jong Il that nuclear weapons are an "absolute evil."
"I am outraged and, on behalf of the atomic-bombed city of Hiroshima, I vehemently protest," Akiba wrote.
As the letter went off to Pyongyang, some 20 peace organizations staged a sit-in in Hiroshima pleading with North Korea to halt its nuclear-weapons development.
A day earlier, Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito called the nuclear test an "act of violence" in defiance of international appeals to suspend such actions.
"The North Korean people are not aware of the true terror of nuclear weapons," Ito said.
More than 210,000 people were killed in the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Akiba voiced indignation in his letter that Kim went ahead with the test even though so many nations are seeking a negotiated solution to the crisis.
"The fact that you conducted this test even as the international community was working so hard to find peaceful resolutions to your problems is intolerable," he wrote. "We gravely fear that your action will stimulate the expansion and proliferation of nuclear arms."
One 81-year-old survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, Sunao Tsuboi, told the newspaper Mainichi that the United States and other nations with nuclear arsenals shouldn't take the lead in pressuring North Korea.
"Nuclear powers should condemn North Korea only after they announce they will abandon their own nuclear weapons," Tsuboi said.
(c) 2006, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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