Bells tolled and thousands bowed their heads in prayer in Hiroshima on Thursday at ceremonies that marked the 70th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing and highlighted rising tensions over Japan’s moves away from its pacifist constitution. Tens of thousands were injured and died later. Doves were released as a symbol of peace.
It’s estimated that at least 200,000 people were killed in the bombings. Three days after Hiroshima, the U.S. dropped another atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki, which killed 40,000 instantly and brought an end to World War II.
Abe, also addressing the ceremony, said that as the sole country to face a nuclear attack, Japan had a duty to push for the elimination of nuclear weapons. Mayor Kazumi Matsui renewed calls for U.S President Barack Obama and other world leaders to continue to increase efforts toward eliminating nuclear weapons from the world, reported USA Today.
“Demonstrations of military power such as atomic bombings are crimes with no expiration date”, Kozhemyako was quoted as saying by Interfax.
Alex Wellerstein, a nuclear historian at the Stevens Institute of Technology, used estimations to illustrate the affect the bombs would have on different cities, including Washington, D.C.
“You will be impelled to start discussing a legal framework, including a nuclear weapons convention”.
“Aspiring sincerely to an worldwide peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling global disputes”, that article states.
“Seventy years on, I re-emphasize the necessity of world peace”, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at the memorial service. A “Don’t repeat the war” conference was held, and choirs performed.
With the average age of surviving victims, or hibakusha, now exceeding 80 this year, passing on their stories is considered an urgent task.
Representatives of more than 100 countries, including the US ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, were among those marking the anniversary.
“Little Boy“, dropped from the Enola Gay B-29 bomber, destroyed 90 per cent of the city. Many survivors of the initial blast burned to death, while cancers caused by the radiation affected countless others, causing years of misery to both adults and children.
Meanwhile, a government panel commissioned by Mr Abe to review the country’s recent history has praised Japan’s postwar economic growth and commitment to pacifism but also cites lack of reconciliation with China and South Korea.