NAGASAKI – On the 68th anniversary Friday of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, 150 high school students formed a human chain around a monument set up at the epicenter of the blast, calling for world peace through the power of youth.
“I strongly feel that atomic bombings must never happen again,” said Haruka Kogano, 16, a high-schooler from the city of Goto, Nagasaki Prefecture.
Arisa Yoshida, a 17-year-old high school student from Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, said, “I have recognized that there are many things I should learn from Nagasaki because I’m from Fukushima,” alluding to the March 2011 nuclear meltdowns.
Meanwhile, a large number of people gathered at Nagasaki Peace Park for a memorial ceremony for the approximately 74,000 victims of the A-bomb dropped on the city by U.S. forces in 1945.
Among them was Hiroko Kamachi, 76, who was at home, just 2.4 km from the hyopocenter, when the bomb detonated. She was 8 at the time.
Kamachi said she visits the park for every annual anniversary to pray for her late mother and friends, who are listed as victims of the atomic attack. Kamachi, who has a long history of illness related to the atomic bombing, stressed that nuclear weapons must be eliminated.
Sumiko Matsuo, 65, sister of Senji Yamaguchi, a hibakusha and leading figure in Japan’s anti-nuclear movement since the Nagasaki and Hiroshima A-bombings who died last month, attended the peace memorial ceremony at the park at the invitation of the Nagasaki Municipal Government. “I will take over the will of my brother, who kept saying that nuclear weapons should never be tolerated,” she said.