Nagasaki marks 72nd A-bombing anniversary

The park fell silent at 11:02 AM. That is the exact moment the bomb was dropped.

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This week marks the 72nd anniversary of the two US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On Wednesday, people gathered at a ceremony held at Nagasaki’s Peace Park, close to where the bomb hit, to reflect in a moment of silence.

The park fell silent at 11:02 AM. That is the exact moment the bomb was dropped. More than 70,000 people died in Nagasaki in 1945 alone. Among those in attendance were atomic bomb survivors, known as hibakusha.

Representatives from more than 50 countries including some nuclear powers also took part. Nagasaki’s Mayor Tomihisa Taue delivered a peace declaration.

Taue spoke about a treaty to ban nuclear weapons that was adopted last month at the UN headquarters by more than a hundred countries.

Nuclear powers did not participate in the negotiations. Neither did countries that depend on the nuclear powers for protection including Japan.

To leaders of these nations, mayor Taue said, “Please reconsider your policies of seeking to protect your nations through nuclear weapons. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty obligates all its member states to achieve nuclear disarmament. Please fulfill this obligation. The whole world awaits your courageous decisions.”

A message from the UN Secretary General was read by the UN Under-Secretary-General Izumi Nakamitsu.

It praised bomb survivors for their contributions to create a safer future. It also raised the issue of the nuclear weapons ban treaty.

It also said, “I hope that the adoption in July of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will give renewed momentum to achieve our shared goal. I appeal to all governments to follow your example and intensify their efforts to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not address the treaty. He said Japan needs to continue to share the memory of its tragic experiences across generations and borders.

A survivors’ representative criticized Japan’s reliance on nuclear energy, especially in light of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in 2011.

Yoshitoshi Fukahori was 16-years old when his sister was killed by the Nagasaki bomb.

He said, “Nuclear power plants are being put in operation again one after another. No matter what kind of strict regulations are put into place in our country which repeatedly faces earthquakes, they’re useless against quakes. ”

Each year, names of victims are placed in a stone vault. They include survivors who died within the past year and newly confirmed victims. This year 3,551 names were added with more than 175 thousand names now listed.

Source and image: NHK
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