Thursday, August 6, 2015

Hiroshima marks 70th A-bomb anniversary

Hiroshima marked the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the city on Thursday, with Mayor Kazumi Matsui urging world leaders to renew their resolve to abolish nuclear weapons and pursue peace as embodied in Japan’s war-renouncing Constitution.

At a memorial ceremony in the city, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joined Matsui in highlighting the role Japan should fulfill as the only country to have suffered nuclear attacks, but did not touch on the ongoing defense policy shift that has drawn criticism from atomic bomb survivors as eroding Japan’s pacifism.

The event was attended by representatives from a record 100 nations, including the United States, which in an unprecedented move sent a high-level official from Washington to attend the annual ceremony.

In the Peace Declaration read at the ceremony, Matsui did not directly mention the controversial security bills that would allow Japan for the first time in its postwar history to exercise the right to collective self-defense, or defend allies under armed attack even when Japan itself is not attacked.

Instead, the mayor encouraged world leaders to demonstrate their “love of humanity” and meet “tirelessly to talk,” saying that doing so is the first step toward nuclear weapons abolition.

“The next step is to create, through the trust thus won, broadly versatile security systems that do not depend on military might,” he said.

Matsui also called on the world to promote “the path to true peace revealed by the pacifism of the Japanese Constitution,” whose Article 9 forever renounces war and the use of force as a means of settling international disputes.

Abe’s Cabinet reinterpreted the provision last year to bring an end to the country’s ban on the right of collective self-defense and submitted the security bills to the Diet this year to put the move into effect, citing “increasing severity” in the security environment surrounding Japan.

But the bills have met a barrage of criticism from many constitutional scholars, who argue that the legislation would violate the war-renouncing Constitution, as well as from atomic bomb survivors who fear that if enacted, it could entangle Japan in war.

Given that Japan will host next year’s summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, Matsui reiterated his hope that U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders will visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki to hear firsthand accounts of atomic bomb survivors.

It is unclear whether by sending to the memorial ceremony Rose Gottemoeller, U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, Washington is trying to lay the groundwork for Obama’s visit.

U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said the move underscores Washington’s eagerness to work with Japan to advance Obama’s goal of realizing a world without nuclear weapons, which he advocated in his Prague speech in 2009.

As for Japan’s role in the pursuit,Abe said in his speech that the government will take “realistic and practical” steps toward a nuclear-weapons-free world and seek to make the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons widely known.

Abe also said he will introduce a new draft resolution calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons to a new session of the U.N. General Assembly to be convened in the autumn, which may include a call on world leaders to visit the atomic-bombed cities.

The Japanese government has submitted a draft nuclear disarmament resolution to the assembly for the past 21 years, all of which have been adopted.

The prime minister also vowed to continue to offer medical and other forms of support to atomic bomb survivors, whose average age has exceeded 80.

At 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945, an atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima, killing outright or by the end of that year an estimated 140,000 people. A second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, and Japan surrendered six days later, bringing an end to World War II.

The number of hibakusha in and outside Japan — atomic bomb survivors with documents certifying that they experienced the terrible bombing 70 years ago — stood at 183,519 in March, nearly half of its peak of 372,264 in 1980, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

Although the hibakusha have yearned for a world without nuclear weapons, the ideal faces an uphill battle, with more than 15,000 nuclear weapons estimated to exist in the world at present, most of them in U.S. and Russian arsenals.

Amid growing frustration over the stagnant nuclear disarmament efforts and increased focus on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, countries that do not have nuclear weapons have recently stepped up calls to outlaw them.

In the declaration, Matsui urged the Japanese government to “guide all states” toward discussions on such a legal framework, although Tokyo has been cautious about supporting the move as the country has relied on the U.S. nuclear deterrence for protection.

Hailing survivors as “unparalleled champions of peace,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement read out during the ceremony that the United Nations will stand with the survivors, determined to realize their vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world.

“I echo your rallying cry: No More Hiroshimas. No More Nagasakis,” he said.
   by Miya Tanaka




  1. Hiroshima marks atomic bombing, worries about steps toward war...

    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.

    Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui urged that nuclear weapons be abolished and demanded the creation of security systems that do not rely on military might.

    "Working with patience and perseverance to achieve these systems will be vital, and will require that we promote throughout the world the path to true peace revealed by the pacifism of the Japanese constitution," he said in a speech.

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government are pushing security bills through parliament that could send Japanese troops into conflict for the first time since World War Two, sparking protests around the country.

    At 8:15 a.m. (7.15 p.m. on Wednesday), the exact time the bomb exploded on Aug. 6, 1945, the crowd stood for a moment of silence in the heavy summer heat as cicadas shrilled and the Peace Bell rang.

    Many of those gathered for the ceremony renewed their calls for

  2. 70. Jahrestag des Atombombenangriffs: Japan gedenkt der Toten von Hiroshima...

    Um 8.15 Uhr wurde es ganz still in Hiroshima. So wie seit 1945 in jedem Jahr um diese Uhrzeit am 6. August. Genau zu diesem Zeitpunkt hatte das US-Militär die erste im Krieg eingesetzte Atombombe über der japanischen Stadt abgeworfen.

    Zur Gedenkveranstaltung anlässlich des 70. Jahrestags des Angriffs waren Abgesandte aus rund hundert Ländern angereist, so viele wie nie zuvor. Die USA waren durch Botschafterin Caroline Kennedy vertreten.

    Hiroshimas Bürgermeister Kazumi Matsui forderte in seinem Friedensappell die Abschaffung aller Atomwaffen. Die Überlebenden litten noch heute physisch und psychisch unter den Folgen der Verstrahlung. Matsui rief US-Präsident Barack Obama und andere Politiker auf, nach Hiroshima zu kommen und den Schilderungen der Überlebenden zuzuhören.

    Matsui forderte die Welt auf, dem Weg des Pazifismus, wie ihn die japanische Nachkriegsverfassung verkörpere, zu folgen. Dass die Regierung von Ministerpräsident Shinzo Abe gerade eine weitreichende Militärreform auf den Weg gebracht hat, die nach Ansicht von Kritikern eine Abkehr von eben diesem Pazifismus bedeutet, ließ der Bürgermeister unerwähnt.

    Uno-Generalsekretär Ban Ki Moon schloss sich in einer verlesenen Grußbotschaft dem Appell der Überlebenden der Atombombenabwürfe an: "No more Hiroshimas. No more Nagasakis."................

  3. Hiroshima Remembers US Atomic Bombing...

    The memorial ceremony started with a moment of silence at 8:15 local time on Thursday (23:15 GMT on Wednesday) in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park. The time is when the US atomic bomb detonated about 600 meters (about 2,000 feet) above Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Bouvier Kennedy are among the tens of thousands attending the event.

    The world marks Hiroshima Day and the International Day of Nuclear Disarmament on August 6. On that day in 1945, the US Air Force dropped atomic bomb "Little Boy" on Hiroshima. Another bomb, "Fat Man" was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki on August 9.

    The two US bombings are the only use of nuclear weapons for warfare in human history. Days after the bombings, Japan announced its surrender to the Allies, paving way to the end of World War II.

  4. Hiroshima, Nagasaki: 61% des Japonais attendent des excuses des USA...

    D'après un nouveau sondage "Sputnik.Opinions", 61% des Japonais estiment que les Etats-Unis devraient s'excuser pour les bombardements d'Hiroshima et Nagasaki, et 74% sont d'avis qu'ils ne peuvent pas être justifiés par la guerre.

    En répondant à la question "Les Etats-Unis devraient-ils présenter des excuses officielles aux victimes des bombardements atomiques d'Hiroshima et Nagasaki?", la majorité de Japonais (61%) ont déclaré que les Etats-Unis devaient s'excuser. Seuls 11 % estiment que cela n'est pas nécessaire. Environ 30% n'ont pas donné de réponse précise, majoritairement les jeunes de 18 à 24 ans: plus de 40% des sondés de cette tranche d’âge se sont abstenus de répondre.

    Dans la deuxième partie du sondage, la première affirmation "Les bombardements d'Hiroshima et Nagasaki étaient des actions destinées à mettre fin à la guerre, qui aurait pu se prolonger dans le cas contraire" a recueilli 10% d’avis favorables. La deuxième, "Les bombardements d'Hiroshima et Nagasaki ne peuvent pas être justifiés par la guerre car ils ont fait de nombreux morts civils", a obtenu 74% de réponses favorables auprès des sondés...............


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