Japan marks 70 years in Hiroshima atomic bombing anniversary
Japan’s Hiroshima ceremonies ‘scheming’: Chinese newspaper
Tens of thousands gathered in Hiroshima Thursday to mark 70 years since the dropping of the first atomic bomb, with opinion still divided over whether its deadly destruction was justified.
Bells tolled as a solemn crowd observed a moment of silence at 8:15 a.m. local time (2315 GMT), when the detonation turned the bustling city into an inferno, killing thousands instantly and leaving others with horrific injuries to die a slow death.
Children, elderly survivors and delegates representing 100 countries were in the crowd with many placing flowers in front of the cenotaph at Peace Memorial Park, as doves were released into the air.
“As the only country ever attacked by an atomic bomb ... we have a mission to create a world without nuclear arms,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the crowd.
“We have been tasked with conveying the inhumanity of nuclear weapons, across generations and borders.”
Japan plans to submit a fresh resolution to abolish nuclear weapons at the U.N. general assembly later this year, he said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, at a regional diplomatic meeting in Malaysia, described the bombing as a “very, very powerful reminder” of the impact of war.
US ambassador Caroline Kennedy and under-secretary for arms control Rose Gottemoeller, the most senior Washington official ever sent to the service, attended Thursday’s ceremony.
‘You must never make Japan a country that repeats the same
Japan’s nationalist leader has been criticized for efforts to expand the role of his pacifist country’s Self- Defense Forces, changes that open the door to putting troops into combat for the first time since the war.
In a fresh controversy over the unpopular moves, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani admitted that the new security laws being debated in parliament could — in theory — allow for Japan to transport nuclear weapons to allies, but he quickly dismissed it as unlikely.
Bomb survivors, known as hibakusha, demanded that Abe drop the military plan.
“You must never make Japan a country that repeats the same mistakes (of the past),” Yukio Yoshioka, an 86-year-old, told Abe during a brief meeting on Thursday, local media said.
In his annual speech, Hiroshima mayor Kazumi Matsui called nuclear weapons an “absolute evil.”
About 140,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the
A Chinese newspaper with close ties to the ruling Communist Party slammed Japan on Thursday for commemorating the atomic bombing of Hiroshima without highlighting its own wartime aggression.
The Global Times tabloid, which is published under the People’s Daily newspaper, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, conceded in an editorial that it was “understandable” for Japan to recall the bombing.
“But it must be pointed out that the ceremony directs people’s attention only to the fact that Japan is a victim of atomic Hiroshima attack, including those who survived the bombing itself but died in the following days, weeks and months from radiation sickness.
Gums bled, teeth fell out, hair came off in clumps; there were cancers, premature births, malformed babies and sudden deaths.
On Thursday, the International bombing, but turns a blind eye to the reason why,” the Englishlanguage editorial said.
“Ceremonies like this water down the fact that Japan was also a perpetrator of war crimes. This shows how adept Japan is at scheming and calculating.”
The Global Times criticized Abe, who wants Japan to play a bigger role in supporting its key ally the United States on defense issues and is pushing landmark legislation through parliament to enable it.
“Abe wants to normalize the status of his country, but without a full retrospection over Japan’s war crimes,” it said. Committee of the Red Cross said hospitals are still treating thousands of bomb survivors for longterm health effects.
“I don’t know why I survived and lived this long. The more I think about it ... the more painful it becomes to recall,” Hiroshima survivor Sunao Tsuboi, 90, told AFP before the anniversary.
(Top) Visitors pray for atomic bomb victims in front of the cenotaph at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan, Thursday, Aug. 6. (Above) U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller, center, and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, left, are escorted by a Japanese security guard after the ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the bombing at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Parkin Hiroshima, western Japan Thursday.