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UN peace messenger Douglas remembers Japan

The Associated Press
Thursday, March 24, 2011; 3:22 PM

UNITED NATIONS -- Actor and U.N. messenger for peace Michael Douglas offered his condolences Thursday to the Japanese people struggling amid nuclear crisis after this month's catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.

Douglas spoke at U.N. headquarters alongside a new exhibit of petitions containing the signatures of more than 1 million people calling on the world's leaders for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has added his signature to the petitions gathered by more than 4,500 mayors worldwide.

"Our hearts go out to the Japanese people as they deal with this catastrophe," Douglas said. "The Japanese have a history of rebuilding their country after natural and manmade catastrophes."

Japan's undertook a daunting rebuilding effort after the 1945 atomic attacks on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki - the only active deployments of nuclear weapons to date.

"Everywhere I go I will repeat my strong, consistent and clear call for nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament," Ban said at the dedication of the new exhibit. "I will carry the message of the million petitioners represented here today, and the many millions more around the world seeking to end the nuclear threat."

© 2011 The Associated Press