Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated Japan’s call for a world free of atomic weapons at a ceremony in Hiroshima to mark the 70th anniversary of the first nuclear attack. At Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, representatives from around 100 countries and tens of thousands of visitors gathered for a ceremony of remembrance that included a minute of silence, ringing the “peace bell”, releasing doves, and reading a declaration of peace calling for an end to nuclear weapons. Abe said the legislation was essential to ensure Japan’s safety. The number of casualties is hard to ascertain because it was not clear how many people were living in the cities during the war, and people continued to die of bomb-related illnesses many years afterward. The death toll from the blast on August 6,1945 by the end of the year was estimated at about 140,000, out of the 350,000 who lived there at the time. The Japanese nationalists called through blaring speakers for the U.S.to take responsibility for war crimes and apologize for dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
A U.S. diplomat who attended this week’s 70th anniversary of the American atomic bombing of Hiroshima said Friday that nuclear weapons should never be used again. But Daniel’s views changed after his son brought home a book about a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing.
Some argue the bombings were not necessary or justified. I was heartened to read their statement from earlier this year in which, on behalf of all Japanese, they repented for the harm they did to people of the region (in the wars).
There are still those today who maintain that, in the long run, it saved not only American lives, but Japanese lives as well.
Daniel was the first from the Truman family to go to Japan. “Now is the time to start taking action”, he said.
It may not have been the mere slaughter inflicted by the atomic bomb and the prospect of more slaughter that turned Hirohito and his generals around; they already had shown themselves indifferent to slaughter, including the slaughter of their own people.