Hiroshima 70th A-bomb anniversary will draw officials from record 100 countries

Kyodo, JIJI

The Hiroshima Municipal Government said it expects representatives from a record 100 countries to attend its annual ceremony on Thursday to mark the U.S. atomic bombing, as peace activists gathered in the city.

The participants will include U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, who will be attending the event for the second year in a row after assuming her post in late 2013, and a senior U.S. State Department official in charge of arms control, according to the U.S. government.

Kennedy and Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state foA memorial service was also held Korean victims of the atomic bombing, at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on Wednesday morning.r arms control and international security, will also attend a ceremony to be held on Sunday in Nagasaki, the other city devastated by a U.S. atomic bomb. It’s the first time that a high-level Washington official will attend the two ceremonies, according to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

The move comes amid growing calls in Japan for U.S. President Barack Obama to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki to see the human consequences using nuclear weapons.

From the United Nations, Acting High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Kim Won-soo will attend the ceremony and read out a message from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Diplomats in Japan from nuclear powers Britain, France and Russia, as well as the European Union will also attend the ceremony, according to the Hiroshima Municipal Government.

A memorial service was also held for Korean victims of the atomic bombing, at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on Wednesday morning.

In the 46th memorial service, hosted by the Hiroshima regional headquarters of the pro-Seoul Korean Residents Union in Japan, or Mindan, Chim Sung-ui, head of the Hiroshima branch, vowed to make an all-out effort toward denuclearization.

“We have advocated the elimination of nuclear weapons for 70 years and passed, as witnesses, memories of the atomic bombing to the younger generations with a sense of responsibility,” Chim said.

At the ceremony, a list of 2,711 victims, including 22 who died within the last year, was placed in a monument. First-, second- and third-generation Korean female residents wearing traditional attire sang a requiem for the victims in front of some 200 participants, including bereaved families.

On Tuesday, peace campaigners from around the world gathered to attend annual conferences organized by major Japanese anti-nuclear groups to push for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

At a conference convened by the Japan Council Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, known as Gensuikyo, 90-year-old atomic bomb survivor Sunao Tsuboi stressed the need to join forces to eliminate nuclear weapons, recalling his painful memories and physical suffering after experiencing the blast from about 1.2 km away.

“Illnesses caused by the atomic bomb continue to haunt me,” said Tsuboi, one of the chairpersons of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations.

He said he has been hospitalized a dozen times.

Muhammad Anshor, deputy permanent representative of Indonesia to the United Nations, said the horrific impact of nuclear weapons witnessed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is “one of the main driving forces” behind Indonesia’s support for a total ban on nuclear weapons.

“I hope the governments and civil society continue to work together in striving for a world without nuclear weapons,” he said.

Young peace activists from overseas also joined the event. Mary Popeo, a 23-year-old from Boston, expressed her eagerness to take back her experiences in Japan to encourage young people to act.

“A lot of people tell me . . . that because we’re young maybe you can’t make as much difference, and people say, ‘You have no experience of war,’ or ‘You’re not an expert in nuclear weapons so why are you doing this?’ But you do not need to be an expert in nuclear weapons to see the humanitarian consequences,” she said.

Another conference was held on Tuesday by the Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs, commonly known as Gensuikin.

Both Gensuikyo and Gensuikin will be holding anti-nuclear gatherings and other events in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki through Sunday.

  • Liars N. Fools

    I admire Hiroshima as a leader in the concept of 富國強平 — a wealthy country based on the strength of peace. We do need to realize that peace is in fact stronger than military power because it is progressive and constructive and in the interests of humanity. I wish the peace campaigners well and applaud them in their noble pursuit.

  • Kyle

    The first thing I want to read when I wake up is “Obama makes a surprise visit to Hiroshima”. An official US apology is overdue.

    • Phil

      When will Japan apologise for their atrocities (which were akin to ISIS) during WW2.

      • Revelation

        That would be the Murayama statement, though I do believe Abe has yet to actually uphold this, not that I’m holding my breath.

      • Kyle

        The US should set the example. If wikileaks is to be believed, the Japanese government refused a proposal by Obama to apologize recently. Why do you think that is Phil? I think Obama should do it anyway, Abe would be inclined to reciprocate the gesture for much of East Asia.

    • WW

      When will the Japanese thank the U.S. for dropping the bomb and ending the war before the Soviets had a time to come through the north and rape and pillage their way south?

      Many ways to see history. My favored one is that without the bomb, U.S Marines would be fighting their way across the archipelago from south to north, with losses on both sides in the millions, while giving time to the Soviets to shift their forces to the Asian theater and invade from the north. We’d have a divided Japan like we still have a divided Korea, and half of Japan enslaved by the Soviets.

      Like it or not, dropping the nukes was the most humanitarian way to end that brutal campaign in the war. Period.

  • Kyle

    Japan was expected to surrender before November 1st by the US cabinet and generals that advised Truman NOT to use the bomb. The Soviet Union declared war on Japan August 8th and invaded Manchuria, Japan surrendered to the US seven days later. The historical record shows Japan was finished and they were only looking for the best terms in which the Emperor lived, the Soviet Union would have executed the royal family, therefore surrendering to the US as soon as possible was warranted.

    I will leave you with 2 quotes:
    “The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.” – Harry Truman (August 9th, 1945) – do you spot the lie?

    Winston Churchill said, “Japan’s defeat was certain before the first bomb fell.”

    • Phil

      We will need to agree to disagree with each other.

    • Liars N. Fools

      The “from the horse’s mouth” record is that the proximate cause of Japan’s surrender was the atomic bombings. This is contained in Hirohito’s “surrender” broadcast — he did not actually use the word surrender. Incidentally, the surrender was directed to America, Great Britain, China, AND the Soviet Union and the proposition that Japan surrendered to America instead of the Soviet Union is inaccurate. Moreover, the Japanese rightist view that Japan surrendered to America but not to China is also not accurate.

      Here is the broadcast text in full:


      After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in Our Empire today, We have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.

      We have ordered Our Government to communicate to the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that Our Empire accepts the provisions of their Joint Declaration.

      To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well-being of Our subjects is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by Our Imperial Ancestors and which lies close to Our heart.

      Indeed, We declared war on America and Britain out of Our sincere desire to ensure Japan’s self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from Our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.

      But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone – the gallant fighting of the military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of Our servants of the State, and the devoted service of Our one hundred million people – the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.

      Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should We continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.

      Such being the case, how are We to save the millions of Our subjects, or to atone Ourselves before the hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why We have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers.

      We cannot but express the deepest sense of regret to Our Allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the Empire towards the emancipation of East Asia.

      The thought of those officers and men as well as others who have fallen in the fields of battle, those who died at their posts of duty, or those who met with untimely death and all their bereaved families, pains Our heart night and day.

      The welfare of the wounded and the war-sufferers, and of those who have lost their homes and livelihood, are the objects of Our profound solicitude.

      The hardships and sufferings to which Our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great. We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all of you, Our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is unsufferable.

      Having been able to safeguard and maintain the structure of the Imperial State, We are always with you, Our good and loyal subjects, relying upon your sincerity and integrity.

      Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion which may engender needless complications, or any fraternal contention and strife which may create confusion, lead you astray and cause you to lose the confidence of the world.

      Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith in the imperishability of its sacred land, and mindful of its heavy burden of responsibility, and of the long road before it.

      Unite your total strength, to be devoted to construction for the future. Cultivate the ways of rectitude, foster nobility of spirit, and work with resolution – so that you may enhance the innate glory of the Imperial State and keep pace with the progress of the world.

      (Hirohito’s signature and Privy Seal)

      August 14,1945

  • Rationalise

    Those anti-nuclear pushers are barking up the wrong tree. They should be fighting for pacifism instead, for it was that very act of aggression by their country that led to this comparatively light punishment. And now they deny their crimes, and hate the punishment. What a bunch of deluded fools. China, Korean and South East Asia haven’t even started exacting anything, though I hope they eventually do. Do the crime, face the music. Simple. They is very good reason for vengence in evolution, for it promotes the overall survivability of the human species.