HIROSHIMA – An exhibition to convey the horror of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima is likely to be held at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the war, the Hiroshima Municipal Government said.
A-bomb exhibitions have been held in various countries, including the United States, but it will be the first time for such an event to be held at Pearl Harbor — the site of Japan’s surprise attack that brought the U.S. into World War II.
It is hoped the move will help deepen mutual understanding between the two countries, since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain controversial events. Many Americans believe the nuclear attacks were necessary to end the war.
In a show of reconciliation, former U.S. President Barack Obama made a landmark visit to Hiroshima in May 2016 and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe traveled to Pearl Harbor the following December to attend the sensitive ceremony at the Arizona Memorial with Obama to mourn the victims of the surprise attack.
The head of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Kenji Shiga, proposed using the memorial as the venue when he visited earlier in September to propose an exhibition on the belongings of those killed by the U.S. nuclear attack. It would also offer chances for the survivors to share what they experienced.
The memorial reacted positively to the proposal and the date and other details will be discussed hereafter, officials of the Hiroshima peace museum said. The event is expected to be held sometime after April 2020.
“I felt that the Arizona Memorial is trying to squarely face the past, just like Mr. Obama first tried to see the consequences of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima,” Shiga said at a news conference Thursday.
But holding the exhibition at what could be construed as a “sacred” place for American war veterans could still be controversial, and uncertainties remain on whether the plan will go smoothly.
The Arizona Memorial is a structure that straddles the hull of the battleship USS Arizona, which was sunk during the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941. It marks the final resting place of over 1,000 sailors.
The United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and the second on Nagasaki three days later. Around 210,000 people are estimated to have died from the attacks by the end of 1945. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, bringing World War II to an end.
Hiroshima peace museum officials said that another A-bomb exhibition is being considered for fiscal 2019 at a museum in Los Alamos, New Mexico, the nerve center of the Manhattan Project, the secret program that created the atomic bomb.
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