• Kyodo

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The Smithsonian Institution has received a petition criticizing its plans to exhibit the Enola Gay without mentioning Japanese casualties.

The petition is from almost 200 scholars, writers and others. The Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in World War II.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum plans to put the completely reassembled Enola Gay on public display Dec. 15 when its new facility opens near Washington Dulles International Airport. It will announce its response to the petition Friday, an official said Thursday.

The petition urges the museum to change the way of exhibiting the B-29 Superfortress, saying it is inappropriate to display the bomber only in celebration of American technology without mentioning the consequences of the bombing, including the number of casualties.

Those who signed the petition included Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Joseph Rotblat, novelist Kurt Vonnegut and historian Howard Zinn. In 1994, the museum was planning an Enola Gay exhibit that would focus largely on the destruction and suffering caused by the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and on the historical aftermath, including the Cold War.

But in the face of a storm of protests from World War II veteran groups and politicians over the alleged excessive emphasis on the Japanese victims, the planned exhibition was scrapped in January 1995. Later, the fuselage of the Enola Gay and other items were put on display in an exhibit that made no reference to the damage caused by the bombing.

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