• Kyodo


An exhibition underscoring the misery inflicted on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S. atomic bombings in 1945 has gotten underway in Washington for the first time in 20 years.

Two survivors pleaded for efforts toward the abolition of nuclear weapons before some 150 people who attended the opening ceremony Saturday for the Atomic Bomb Exhibition at the American University Museum, which will run through Aug. 16.

Photos displaying the horror of the bombings and clothes burned by the heat of the atomic blasts are among the items exhibited.

The exhibit also features the Hiroshima Panels, renowned paintings by husband-and-wife artists Iri and Toshi Maruki, were put on display in the first exhibition of the artworks in Washington.

The two cities and the university jointly organized the event to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the bombings.

One of the survivors at the opening, Sadao Yamamoto, 83, from Hiroshima, expressed hope that Americans will cooperate toward nuclear arms abolition. He said he was a junior high school student at the time of the bombing and that many of his students were killed.

The other hibakusha, Yoshitoshi Fukahori, 86, who lost his sister in the bombing of Nagasaki, said nuclear weapons and human beings cannot coexist. He said he hopes Nagasaki will be the last place ever to suffer a nuclear attack.

A 52-year-old woman and employee of the University of Maryland, College Park, visiting the exhibit said there is an opinion in the United States that the atomic bombings were necessary. She said Americans should discuss further whether they were right thing to do or not.

The previous exhibition was held in 1995 at the same university, featuring some items that were to be on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum after the Smithsonian Institution canceled the display amid protests from U.S. veterans.

The United States dropped the bombs on Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and Nagasaki on Aug. 9 in 1945. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, bringing World War II to an end.

Casualties by the end of that year were estimated at 140,000 in Hiroshima and 74,000 in Nagasaki.