Japan marks 70th anniversary of Hiroshima atomic bombing

HIROSHIMA, Japan — Japan marked the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Thursday, with Mayor Kazumi Matsui renewing calls for U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders to step up efforts toward making a nuclear weapons free world.

Tens of thousands of attendants stood for a minute of silence at 8:30 a.m. at the ceremony in Hiroshima’s peace park near the epicenter of the 1945 attack, marking the moment of the atomic blast. Then dozens of doves were released as a symbol of peace.

The U.S. bomb, “Little Boy,” the first one used at war, killed 140,000 people, and a second bomb “Fat Man,” dropped over Nagasaki three days later, killed another 70,000, prompting Japan’s surrender in World War II.

Matsui called the nuclear weapons “the ultimate inhumanity and the absolute evil” that must be abolished, and criticized nuclear powers for keeping them as threats to achieve their national interests. He said the world still bristles with more than 15,000 nuclear weapons.

He renewed an invitation to Obama and other world leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki to see the scars themselves.

“President Obama and other policymakers, please come to the A-bombed cities, hear the hibakusha (survivors) with your own ears, and encounter the reality of the atomic bombings,” he said. “Surely, you will be impelled to start discussing a legal framework, including a nuclear weapons convention.”

The anniversary comes as Japan is divided over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to pass unpopular legislation to expand the country’s military role internationally, a year after his Cabinet’s decision to loosen Japan’s war-renouncing constitution by adopting a new interpretation of it.

“We must establish a broad national security framework that does not rely on use of force but is based on trust,” Matsui said. He urged the Japanese government to stick with “the pacifism of the Japanese Constitution” to lead the global effort of no proliferation.

Abe said that as the sole country to face a nuclear attack, Japan had a duty to push for the elimination of nuclear weapons. He pledged to promote the cause through international conferences to be held in Hiroshima later this month.

With the average age of survivors now exceeding 80 years for the first time this year, passing on their stories is considered an urgent task. There were 5,359 “hibakusha,” or survivors, who died over the past year, bringing the total death toll from the Hiroshima bombing to 297,684.

The anniversary comes as Japan is divided over Abe’s push to pass unpopular legislation to expand the country’s military role internationally.

The sea of people who attended the ceremony this year also included U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and representatives from more than 100 countries, including Britain, France and Russia.

“Little Boy,” dropped from the Enola Gay, a B-29 bomber, destroyed 90 percent of the city and killed an estimated 140,000 people, including those who succumbed to injuries and radiation sickness in the ensuing weeks. A “black rain” of radioactive particles followed the blinding blast and fireball, and has been linked to higher rates of cancer and other radiation-related diseases among survivors.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Top (L-R): Louis Harris, Peter Zieve, Kevin Stoltz. Bottom (L-R): Tom Jordal, Steve Schmalz, Alex Crocco.
Race for Mukilteo City Council is a mix of old and new names

Housing, waterfront and public safety top the list of concerns for candidates.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, front, talks to reporters in Olympia, Wash., Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, as Secretary of Health Umair Shah looks on. Inslee announced that starting Nov. 15, people in the state will need to either provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test in order to attend large events. (AP Photo/ Rachel La Corte)
With vaccine deadline here, some fired in Snohomish County

Some workers sought an injunction against Gov. Inslee’s mandate. That effort fell flat Monday, the deadline to get vaccinated.

In this May 2020 photo, garbage cans line a residential street on trash pickup day in Mukilteo. In November, voters will weigh in on whether the city should encourage more high density housing. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Mukilteo asks for input on housing density, and it’s complicated

Here’s a guide to what voters should know about the advisory ballot measure. What does it actually do?

Community Transit is preparing to shift commuter buses that go to the University of Washington in Seattle to connect with Link light rail in Northgate next year. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Union: Community Transit vaccine mandate puts jobs in ‘jeopardy’

Meanwhile, at King County Metro, a similar mandate has significantly boosted vaccination rates.

Police: Man showed up to ex-wife’s Everett home, stabbed ex-roommate

The suspect, 47, of Seattle, was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of first-degree assault.

Lake Stevens worker’s protection order granted against boss

The worker and his boss, Public Works Director Eric Durpos, were put on leave for an incident at a grievance meeting.

Top row: Vanessa Edwards (left) and Ray Sheldon Jr. Bottom row (from left): Connor Krebbs, Wade Rinehardt and Katie Jackson. (Not pictured: Sherry Weersing)
After year of tumult, new faces vie for Marysville School Board

One candidate is concerned about “Critical Race Theory.” Others see more pressing issues.

2 years later, charges filed in ‘unusual’ deadly crash in Everett

Dakotah Allett, 27, crashed into two vehicles on the side of I-5, leaving one woman dead, the new charges say.

Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste, center, greets a new trooper during a graduation ceremony, as Gov. Jay Inslee looks on in the Rotunda at the Capitol Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, in Olympia, Wash. The class of 31 troopers completed more than 1,000 hours of training and will now work for the WSP across the state. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Rather than get vaccine, nearly 2,000 state workers lose jobs

Ten troopers north of Seattle, 54 Monroe prison workers and hundreds more across the state refused the governor’s mandate.

Most Read