HIROSHIMA – An annual memorial service was held in Hiroshima on Sunday for a Swiss doctor who helped rescue operations in the city after the United States dropped an atomic bomb on it in 1945.
This year, organizers of the memorial for Marcel Junod also put newly obtained documents related to his achievements on display at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, located inside the Hiroshima Peace Park.
The memorial service has been held annually since 1990 around the anniversary of Junod’s death on June 16, 1961. It is organized by the Hiroshima Medical Association and the Hiroshima chapter of the Japanese Red Cross Society, and is held in front of his cenotaph at the park.
About 300 people attended, including survivors of the A-bomb attack.
Junod visited Hiroshima as a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Japan. He committed himself to rescue operations immediately after the Aug. 6 bombing.
The documents on exhibit were recently delivered to the organizers by the ICRC.
The exhibition includes a copy of Junod’s report titled “The Devastation of Hiroshima” and a copy of a telegram sent to him by Fritz Bilfinger, an ICRC official in Japan who observed the destruction in Hiroshima before Junod.
It is the first time for the telegram to be put on public display, according to organizers.
Bilfinger, who died in 1993, wrote that a great amount of bandages and medicines were needed. That prompted Junod to send 15 tons of medical provisions to Hiroshima, the organizers said.
Kozo Sanada, of the Japanese Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, said the telegram is significant because it shows there was another great benefactor to Hiroshima in addition to Junod.
Plug auction opposed
HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) An association of atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima on Sunday sent a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush protesting the recent auction of electrical plugs from the atomic bomb that devastated the city.
The two plugs, used to test and detonate the A-bomb, were sold for $167,500 in a recent auction. The transaction became valid after the U.S. court on Friday turned down a U.S. government request to block the auction on the grounds that the plugs were classified material and concerned national security.
“We feel an anger from the bottom of hour hearts that part of the atomic bomb components are sold in an auction,” the group said in the letter sent to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.
Touching on the U.S. government’s attempt to block the sale for security reasons, the group said, “The question is not whether (the plugs) are national secrets, but (the sale) is an inhumane act that debases the A-bomb victims.”
The letter urges the U.S. government to disclose how and why the plugs were put up for auction.
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