Hiroshima marks 70th A-bomb anniversary amid fears of pacifism eroding


Staff Writer

Japan commemorated the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Thursday with renewed determination to abolish nuclear weapons and pursue world peace, although many people said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to expand the country’s military role weakened such pledges.

Global interest in the anniversary appeared particularly high this year.

The annual ceremony at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park drew foreign ambassadors and dignitaries from a record 100 countries, including the nuclear armed United States, United Kingdom, Russia and France.

The U.S. sent Ambassador Caroline Kennedy for the second consecutive year and Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, for the first time.

After observing a moment of silence to mourn the dead, Abe reaffirmed Japan’s pledge to fulfill its responsibility, as the world’s only victim of nuclear warfare, to “eliminate nuclear weapons from the world.”

But in a break from tradition, the prime minister made no allusion to Japan’s three nonnuclear principles, which declare the nation’s nonpossession, nonproduction and nonintroduction of nuclear weapons.

Nor did he touch on his government’s security bills that opponents — including atomic bomb survivors — say undermine the nation’s pacifist postwar Constitution.

Abe said it was “disappointing” that global leaders were unable to reach a consensus on a final declaration during the ninth Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in May. Japan will submit a fresh resolution on the abolition of atomic weapons to the United Nations General Assembly in the fall, he said.

In the annual peace declaration, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui joined Abe in calling for the abolition of nuclear arms and decried the world’s continued pursuit of such weapons.

“Policymakers in the nuclear-armed states remain trapped in provincial thinking, repeating by word and deed their nuclear intimidation,” Matsui said.

“People of the world, please listen carefully to the words of the hibakusha and, profoundly accepting the spirit of Hiroshima, contemplate the nuclear problem as your own,” he said.

With Japan slated to host next year’s Group of Seven summit, and a foreign ministerial meeting in Hiroshima prior to that event, the mayor urged U.S. President Barack Obama and other global policymakers to come to visit his city and learn first-hand about the destruction caused by the atomic bomb.

The 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing came at a time when the Abe government is pushing security bills through the Diet that would enable the Self-Defense Forces to battle alongside Japan’s allies to protect them from aggression.

In testament to growing public dissatisfaction with the government’s heavy-handed push, angry shouts erupted from the crowd as Abe left the stage, in what sounded like criticism of the defense policy shift.

A group of protesters held a march through the park after the ceremony to oppose the bills, which they called “pro-war.”

Although refraining from directly criticizing the bills, Mayor Matsui said he believes “broadly versatile security systems that do not depend on military might” and continued promotion of the “pacifism of the Japanese Constitution” are vital to abolish nuclear weapons.

Junichi Sato, executive director of Greenpeace Japan, warned that the country’s long-standing pursuit of pacifism is now on the verge of collapse.

“Sadly, we are seeing this tradition in Japan being eroded by the Abe government as it begins to dismantle the so-called peace Constitution and doggedly pursue nuclear power at the expense of clean, safe renewables,” Sato said in a statement released Thursday.

This view was echoed by 41-year-old Hiroshima native Kazuya Ishikawa, who was among those who came to the park to offer a prayer.

“To be honest, I don’t know how Abe dared to attend the ceremony this year,” he said. “It just doesn’t feel right that the very person who is pushing for the bills is attending the event.”

Although Abe disputes claims that the bills will pave the way for Japan to wage war and stresses they are instead designed to help bolster the nation’s defense capabilities, the fact nonetheless remains, Ishikawa said, that many members of the public are worried about the potential implications.

“The government needs to be accountable,” he said.

Meanwhile, an 87-year-old hibakusha who declined to give his name, said visiting the ceremony has always brought him sadness as he ruminates over the death of his parents, who still remain unaccounted for.

“War should never be repeated. It’s essentially the act of human beings killing each other,” he said.

  • boonteetan

    Indeed, we still live in the shadow of nuclear bomb 70 years after the first bomb was dropped and exploded in mid-air over Hiroshima. So long as leaders stick to the belief that nuclear bomb is the best deterrent to war or invasion, it will be around for a long time — not just atomic, also hydrogen, cobalt, neutron. We have been, we are, and we shall all be at their mercy.

  • MrGoodNews

    TO tell the truth Japan had to be stopped then. Japan was one of the most brutal country during world war II. I hate to say it but Japan deserved it. But now, I am just glad that it has changed so drastically to become one of the most beautiful and peaceful country in the world. -Foreigner living in Japan

  • ricohflex

    This media frenzy on 6 August every year about Hiroshima and Nagasaki is China’s oversight. Since 1945, Japan has been cleverly moulding western thought and opinion. Every year Japan portrays itself as the sole victim of WW2 and tries to make the west guilty of dropping the A bomb. China has FAILED to commemorate the Nanking massacre every year since 1945 in western capital cities and especially in cities of South East Asia, Korea and Taiwan. PRC must do that NOW and set aside a big budget for that purpose.
    Stop the PR onslaught by Japan every year to revisit Hiroshima & Nagasaki as though they are the only ones to die in a war that they started. In fact countless numbers of people in China, South East Asia, the Pacific islands, Pearl Harbour, including British, Australian & American soldiers were killed by Japanese in WW2. Remember the Bataan death march and atrocities?
    To counter this Japanese PR campaign, China should set aside a big budget to host events commemorating the Nanking massacre each year in various US cities and EU capitals. Also in South East Asian capital cities, Taiwan and Korea. Abe publicly denies Korean women were forced to be comfort women.
    Takashi Kawamura, the mayor of Nagoya and Toshio Tamogami ex-chief of Japan SDF air force and candidate for Tokyo governor both insist the Nanking massacre never happened.
    Japan senior politicians even insist Nanking massacre never happened. And Japan refuses to apologise to the Korean comfort women. Abe tried to portray these WW2 sex slaves as though they were prostitutes and willing paid sex service providers to the Japanese soldiers in WW2.

  • baiyuensheng

    As Japan commemorate the anniversary, pls also take note of the Japanese atrocities committed in south east asia in WWII, especially in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore’s sook ching massacre, where young able men was rounded across the country and hauled off to numerous sites around Singapore to be executed, has no closure yet. Singapore has not received any formal apology for the crimes committed to the civilians. The crimes committed may be forgiven but not forgotten. The attempt to view history in a perverted manner by the current japanese government makes the forgetting the pains even harder.

  • 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. Please also note Hirohito’s self serving statement that Japan always had the best intentions of its neighbors at heart and his somewhat minimizing of the dire straits in which Japanese citizens were finding themselves.

    So judge for yourself from the Emperor’s point of view and not just that of Truman and his advisers. 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

  • Kokutenso

    There is no excuse for the use of atomic bombs.

  • Ken5745

    The truth is out. The Americans and Australian troops were evil too during WW2 and committed unspeakable atrocities.


  • ron bates

    We are not fools or so naive that the threat of war does not exist , otherwise troops from Canada and other allied countries would not have been sent to global hotspots and engaged in combat . However , the pursuit of peace as we desire and the wishes to raise our children and they to raise their children into the future is paramount . Fear of hostilities and invasion must not be part of our daily lives , we must live in peace and security and only smart diplomacy , democracy and the philosophy of defense can do that . Japan as in Germany suffered the devastation of war brought home , allied countries suffered great personal loss to families as this War was brought to an end ! In Canada “Never Again”.

  • preventallwarsdotorg

    The Hiroshima/Nagasaki atomic bombs detonations in August 6/9, 1945; and their post-1945 absence in the many ‘conventional-weapons’ wars actually confirms the irrationality, selfishness and wickedness of all war.

    President Truman, the sole controller of nuclear weapons in 1945 ordered their ruthless use twice within only three days (with more than 250,000 deaths) for quick military victory over Japan. A third was indeed readied for use; but for Japan’s surrender -UK’s Daily Express http://shr.gs/kclHN1M

    But now with multiple leaders’ control (post-1945) and the many wars needing swift victories; no national leader has again ordered their detonation. Reason: the leaders’ very personal safety concerns -since no pro-war national leader wishes to become a casualty of any conflict.

    Retaliation against President Truman with identical indiscriminate destructive weapons was impossible in 1945. However with on-going multiple-leaders’ NW’s possession, a ‘first-use’-leader could be killed during retaliatory attacks. Hence, the many politicians-inspired treaties against NW’s use in war: and they haven’t now for 70years. No armed forces are even needed to enforce this very efficient anti-NW’s deterrent!

    A similar social construct (now easily possible with the common-place technologies/internet usage) which directly targets the physical well-being of pro-war national leaders would, also as efficiently, deter the many ruthless and ‘un-winnable’ conventional weapons wars, worldwide. And why not?

    Furthermore, the current moves to involve Japan in more wars would of course never occur if the paramount political leader(s) were the assured casualties of the proposed wars.

  • http://batman-news.com labjmh

    Ever since the assassination of the Nagasaki mayor by the rightists in the 90’s, there are definitely no Japanese politicians who dare to mention the connection between the war crimes and the bombing.

  • Redhawkman

    I am in Hiroshima now and was at the ceremony. There were a few old guys hiding themselves in the crowd and heckling Abe. They were shouting “go home!” and “don’t lie!”. I also overheard a group of young people decide to leave before Abe got on the podium. The crowd was also gave Abe a very muted applause. I think while the mood was mainly one of reflection and solemnity there was quite a deal of anger and fear among many of the attendees about the changing direction of Japan.

  • Oliver_K_Manuel

    As reported yesterday in comments on the end of WWII in Japan Times,


    The integrity of sovereign governments and government science were destroyed by uniting nations to hide truths revealed on 6 Aug 1945 by Hiroshima’s destruction, especially astronomy, astrophysics, climatology, cosmology, geology, nuclear, particle, planetary, solar and theoretical physics.

    The divine simplicity of our beautiful, bountiful and benevolent universe is now obscured by 97% Consensus Science (UN)Truths purchased from greedy propaganda artists with public research funds.

  • tomado

    “…Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui joined Abe in calling for the abolition…” What hypocrites! The LDP has always begged the U.S. not to limit or decommission any weapons in its “nuclear umbrella” and has opposed international efforts to ban the planning of first strikes. Plus, they allowed the U.S. to bring nuclear weapons into Japan and lied about it for 50 years. This has all been reported in this very publication. Bunch of Hypocrites.

  • timfromla
  • timefox

    China and South Korea ambassador apparently did not attend . Both countries of attitude that concern the Asia of peace sucks .

    When the topic of the atomic bomb is out , I remember always the Korean atomic bomb liquor(原子爆弾酒) made ​​in Hiroshima .

    In particular, China has issued a newspaper advertisement to drop the atomic bomb on Japan . It sucks that China is that absences .

    They are always to Asia of peace in the mouth , it has been proven to be just the mouth .

  • Paul Martin

    Of course it would have been preferable if ONE only had been
    demonstrated on a remote Japanese island to convince and warn Japan of
    the consequences awaiting them if they
    did not surrender.

    However the Japanese killed millions of innocent people all over Asia and the Pacific,
    invaded neighboring countries and committed horrific crimes like unit 731 in
    Manchuria and countless others as history clearly reminds us.

    hirohito, togo and those who held the power at the time were class A war criminals
    about that there is NO doubt but for some strange reason McArthur went easy on them
    even though they were every bit as bad as the nazis !

    There are still many older Japanese who are FIERCELY militaristic and regret Japan’s
    surrender !

    I can also say from personal experience that Japan is NO friend of America or the West
    we see with their present right wing government and stringent
    anti-gaijin (foreigners) laws. They want their cake and eat it too.
    It is NOT an equal opportunity country and the yakuza and right wing mega wealthy run it with an iron stringency !

    Without US protection, tourism and Westerners buying their cars and other products Japan would NOT survive !

    being said I and my family like Japan and most Japanese are friendly,
    kind folks but what I described is VERITAS and you WON’T see it in the
    Japanese media!

  • MacTire

    Ah, the good old Japan-bashing Times! Well, actually, not so old…I remember when the JT was a respectable newspaper, moderately nationalistic and moderately pro-American. Now it’s just another squishy pseudo-liberal rag, hoping against hope that it will be able survive off its malcontent gaijin readers…If Japan were suddenly invaded by six billion man-eating cockroaches from outer space, the usual suspects would be saying that the Japanese people deserve to be annihilated because of, yes, gokiburi-hoihoi.

  • 大千釜 創雷

    Let me ask you something because it seems very odd to me. Has the U.K. ever apologized for inflicting a tremendous amount of pain and suffering upon her former colonies? Has she ever apologized for enslaving the Africans and treating them as lower-life forms? Do the Americans feel sorry for forcibly annexing the Hawaian Kingdom when saying “Remember Pearl Harbor”?

  • Paul Martin

    You respond as if you are working for the Japanese foreign office !

    You are NOT fooling anyone by focusing on a few of my typographical errors!

    It looks like you are well educated judging by your phraseology but you appear one sided by blindly defending Hirohito when many Japanese academics, scholars and historians condemn him!

    I am, as I have previously stated NOT anti-Japanese, in fact I have numerous times praised Japan and the Japanese people, but Abe and the present yes men cronies want to revert Japan to the old shinto ways, change the constitution and re-arm Japan possibly leading to developing a nuclear arsenal as well, all in the name of self defense !

    My analysis of Hirohito, Ishii and the war,etc is based on research, NOT guesswork. I know the truth often hurts but it is absolutely neccessary especially for today’s generation to understand what happened in their country. Governments all too often rewrite history in the schoolbooks because they are reluctant for their children and grandchildren to know what REALLY occurred, that’s why writers and radio shockjocks exist so that people get a different opinion !

    I hope that folk more knowlegeable about WW2 will surface and comment about this sensitive subject then we will see if others concur about Hirohito and his part and powers in the war.

    It is good that the Japan times let readers give their un-edited opinions on

    pertinent debates such as this.

    I want to reiterate that my family and I like most things and people aboout Japan, that is NOT the issue here, what REALLY happened in WW2 to make Japan invade the entire Pacific/Asia region and commit, undeniable, unspeakable atrocities and what part Hirohito played is !

    It is this writer’s contention, based on Hirohito’s own broadcast at war’s end,

    that the Emperor had a megalomania attitude, really believed he was destined to rule the World and was prepared to commit biological genocide on all and any opposing countries and peoples !

    I respect your’s and others opinions and responses to mine but I stand on what I say !

  • Paul Martin

    Okay how’s this for organizing…ALL aged Japanese who are still hobbling around barely able to make it from home to the shop and back, that are clearly visible every day are in one way or another guilty of participating in and aiding and abetting atrocities WW2 and if you think I am alone in saying that think again !

  • Anne Williams

    And where and who are you Mr ‘anonymous’ ??hiding behind the Japanese script knowing full well that all who comment here do so in English and are not afraid to put down their names or pseudonyms for all to read. No doubt you are a Japanese RIGHT WINGER with a superiority complex as of old. and expect those who read you comments to know Japanese while committing Kamikaze attacks on the truth. A perfect descendant of those who worshipped the SUN of Heaven mo doubt??Nothing changes , cruelty and arrogance must still be in the gene pool.

  • Kyle

    While I share the sentiment Japan has not sufficiently acknowledged their colonial and WWII past, it would be inaccurate to say they have not apologized to ANYONE. Furthermore, are we talking of revenge here? Yes, Japan did horrific things, so by your logic firebombing and killing 500,000 civilians and then using atomic bombs to kill another 150,000 is ok because they committed war crimes? An honest reflection is needed, and I see nothing wrong, in fact I find it commendable when a people or country can reconcile its past with honesty and integrity. We don’t have to wait for Japan.

  • 大千釜 創雷

    What a pathetic attempt to justify the colonization of Asia by the West. You are the very definition of “hypocrite”. The Japanese never adopted such barbaric slavery as the West did. It would appear that I stumbled upon yet another simpleton who likes to pretend to be familiar with the Empire of Japan. Just because many nations adopted slavery, does not mean that none needs to apologize for that, you fool.

  • 大千釜 創雷

    There are plenty of stories out there that tell of the British treating the peoples of their former colonies in a horrific, monstrous manner. Do some research before talking out of your ass.