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Polish FM pays tribute to victims of WWII atomic bombing of Japan’s Hiroshima

12.05.2023 13:30
The Polish foreign minister on Friday paid homage to the victims of the 1945 bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima, the world’s first-ever use of nuclear weapons in war, according to officials.
Photo:Twitter/Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Zbigniew Rau laid flowers at the Cenotaph for the Victims of the Atomic Bomb in Hiroshima on Friday, the Polish foreign ministry said.

During the day, the Polish foreign minister also held talks with Hiroshima Mayor Kazui Matsui and visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s polskieradio24.pl website reported. 

The talks between Rau and Matsui focused on “the development of cooperation between Polish and Japanese cities and regions,” according to officials.

Poland’s top diplomat congratulated the mayor on Hiroshima’s role as the host city of the upcoming summit of the Group of Seven (G7), which brings together the world’s biggest advanced economies and liberal democracies. 

The American atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, killed more than 78,000 people, with a further 14,000 declared missing, and thousands more succumbing to radiation poisoning in later years, according to polskieradio24.pl.  

Friday’s visit to Hiroshima marked the final part of Rau’s visit to Japan, which started on Tuesday, news outlets reported.

Talks in Tokyo

On Thursday, Poland’s foreign minister met with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo to discuss “the further development of Polish-Japanese political relations, cooperation in trade and investment as well as current security issues in Europe,” according to officials.

The talks focused on putting an end to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and rebuilding Ukraine from the destruction of war, Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

Japan’s Kishida said his country backed Poland’s support for Ukraine’s defence against the Russian invasion, officials told reporters.

Support for Ukraine

Rau and Kishida also declared that Poland and Japan would work to help stop Russia’s aggression against Ukraine as soon as possible and “help maintain a law-based international order,” according to IAR.

As a gesture of support, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has been invited to attend, via video link, the upcoming G7 summit, which will be held in Hiroshima from May 19, officials said.

Poland and Japan are planning joint action in support of the postwar reconstruction of Ukraine, IAR reported. 

Rau and Kishida also discussed the security situation in East Asia, according to officials. 

Earlier on Thursday, Poland’s foreign minister delivered a speech on “the role of humanitarianism in the history of Polish-Japanese relations” at Tokyo’s Waseda University.

Rau also used the occasion to voice hope that “Japan will play the role of coordinator of international support for Ukraine,” the IAR news agency reported.

Poland’s top diplomat made a similar point in an interview with Japan’s public broadcaster NHK on Thursday, according to news outlets.

Referring to Japan’s chairmanship of G7 in 2023, Rau said: “The most important thing for Japan as chair is to continue to prioritise support for Ukraine.”

'Russian perpetrators of war crimes should be brought to justice'

The Polish foreign minister also said in the interview that countries need to be united in supporting Ukraine as it is also important for the security of each country, NHK reported. 

Rau stated: “People believe Ukrainians are fighting for the freedom of Poland and other countries, as well as for their own independence. If we want world peace we must continue to stand together and support Ukraine.”

The Polish foreign minister also said that Ukraine could win the war if Japan and Western nations continue to support Kyiv, and called for international unity for peace, according to NHK.

Rau stressed that Russian forces “should pull out of Ukraine,” and “Russian perpetrators of war crimes should be brought to justice.”

Poland’s top diplomat said his country was “ready to continue its assistance for Ukraine hand-in-hand with Japan, which chairs the meetings of the Group of Seven nations,” NHK reported.

Rau also hailed Japan as a potential “good model for Ukraine as the country has experienced war and natural disasters, and undergone reconstruction,” according to Ukraine’s Ukrinform news agency.

Japan’s NHK noted that Poland has supported neighbouring Ukraine by providing it with military assistance, including Leopard 2 battle tanks and combat planes at an early stage.

Poland has also accepted nearly 1.6 million refugees from Ukraine, the Japanese public broadcaster reported.

Friday is day 443 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, NHK, Ukrinform, polskieradio24.pl, gov.pl