Tokyo monument honors victims

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government unveiled a peace monument Friday at Sumida Ward park, honoring some 100,000 people who died or were listed as missing as a result of the firebombing of Tokyo during World War II.

Two hundred relatives of the deceased and other guests were invited to the morning ceremony at Yokoamicho Park.

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara joined five other guests in unveiling the monument and dedicated a list containing the names of 68,072 people killed in the massive air raids U.S. forces launched in March 1945. They later silently offered flowers.

In his address, Ishihara expressed his “deepest regret” at such “extensive damage caused by persistent aerial attacks.”

“We must continue to tell future generations that the current prosperity of Tokyo has come on top of the noble sacrifices (of these people),” he said.

The white granite monument, 3.5 meters high and 20 meters in diameter, is in the shape of a truncated, elliptical cone. A pool of water and flower beds decorate the monument in the manner found commonly at Japanese grave sites.

The design for the monument, submitted by the Fukui Prefecture sculptor Kimio Tsuchiya, was selected in April out of seven entries, with the judges praising the design for projecting a sense of harmony between the monument and the park.

The monument cost 200 million yen, about 90 million yen coming from public donations.

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