Hiroshima re­calls atomic hor­ror on 72nd an­niver­sary of bomb­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

HIROSHIMA, Ja­pan — Hiroshima, one of the two Ja­panese ci­ties to suf­fer US atomic bomb­ing in 1945 dur­ing World War II, com­mem­o­rated the 72nd an­niver­sary of the tragedy on Sun­day at the city’s Peace Memo­rial Park, with its mayor call­ing for peace and a world free of nu­clear weapons.

More than 50,000 peo­ple at­tended the cer­e­mony, in­clud­ing sur­vivors of the at­tack, their de­scen­dants, peace ac­tivists and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from some 80 coun­tries and re­gions.

Kazumi Mat­sui, mayor of the city, made a peace dec­la­ra­tion to the au­di­ence. He men­tioned the loss of lives and cul­ture and the suf­fer­ings caused by the atomic bomb­ing and urged the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment to “do all in its power” to fa­cil­i­tate a nu­clear weapon-free world.

He also urged the gov­ern­ment to give more sup­port to the sur­viv­ing vic­tims of the 1945 atomic bomb­ings and “many others who also suf­fered men­tally and phys­i­cally from the ef­fects of ra­di­a­tion”.

Ja­pan is the only coun­try to have suf­fered atomic at­tacks.

Ja­panese of­fi­cials rou­tinely ar­gue that they ab­hor nu­clear weapons, but the na­tion’s de­fense is firmly set un­der the US nu­clear um­brella.

Protests

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe de­liv­ered a speech at the cer­e­mony, in which he made no men­tion of the his­tor­i­cal back­ground of the atomic bomb­ings or Ja­pan’s ag­gres­sive war against its neigh­bors.

“By firmly main­tain­ing our three non-nu­clear prin­ci­ples (of not pro­duc­ing, pos­sess­ing or al­low­ing nu­clear weapons on Ja­panese ter­ri­tory) and con­tin­u­ing to ap­peal to both nu­clear and non-nu­clear states, Ja­pan is de­ter­mined to lead the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity,” he said.

While Abe spoke, shouts of protest rang out from peo­ple around the park, protest­ing against the prime min­is­ter’s long-held am­bi­tion of re­vis­ing the paci­fist Con­sti­tu­tion and other poli­cies that they say could bring Ja­pan to war, as well as the re­cent scan­dals that have plunged ap­proval rat­ing.

Hun­dreds of pro­test­ers gath­ered around the park, hold­ing ban­ners and shout­ing slo­gans such as “Op­pose war and Con­sti­tu­tion re­vi­sion” and “Abe should step down”.

“I’m against Abe at­tend­ing this cer­e­mony, for his ad­min­is­tra­tion only pro­tects the in­ter­ests of some peo­ple and he tries to re­vise the paci­fist Con­sti­tu­tion and could drag Ja­pan into war,” said Take­hiko Mat­sumoto, a pro­tester from Sendai.

To ac­cel­er­ate Ja­pan’s sur­ren­der in World War II, the United States forces dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Na­gasaki on Aug 6 and Aug 9, 1945. The bomb­ings claimed the lives of 140,000 peo­ple in Hiroshima and 74,000 peo­ple in Na­gasaki. Some died im­me­di­ately while others suc­cumbed to in­juries or ra­di­a­tion-re­lated ill­nesses weeks, months and years later.

Ja­pan even­tu­ally sur­ren­dered to the Al­lied Forces on Aug 15, 1945, bring­ing an end to World War II. Abe’s

I’m against Abe at­tend­ing this cer­e­mony, ... he tries to re­vise the paci­fist Con­sti­tu­tion and could drag Ja­pan into war.” Take­hiko Mat­sumoto, pro­tester in Hiroshima died as the US forces dropped an atomic bomb in the city in 1945.

MA PING / XINHUA

Pro­test­ers hold ban­ners and shout slo­gans against Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe in Hiroshima, Ja­pan, on Sun­day.

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