Why not give peace a chance?

Grant Piper writes in his letter “Too much focus placed on ‘peace’ ” in the Aug. 12 edition that he visited Hiroshima only to feel “aggravated” by the term “peace.” He should have hung out at a Carp game or Sanfrecce soccer match.

Declaring Hiroshima “beautiful,” Piper adds he’s “thankful the Americans used their new weapon to force the Japanese government along.” Buying into the still-popular myth that “Japan needed nuking to surrender.”

As arriving Occupation forces testified, decimated Japan was in no shape to “push on” with war. Meanwhile, these were new “weapons” (plural), since one A-bomb was uranium and the other plutonium, each detonated in different means on separate cities unscathed to that point. Arguably, they were weapons tests to scrutinize the impact and intimidate the Soviets (to whom Piper kindly credits Japan’s ultimate decision to yield).

During studies and a homestay in Hiroshima as a college student in 1971, I largely interacted with the city as just another regional community. The Peace Park became a place to chill, not fret over history. I sensed no hostility as an American, although only 25 years had passed since the cataclysmic event, or urge to search out causes or theories about why Japan waged brutal war or subjected its civilians to such hardship. I just hung out.

Around 1960, my fourth-grade class in Los Angeles studied the A-bombs. My reaction then (when I couldn’t have found Japan on a map) was why such a horrendous weapon wasn’t used on a mountain or field as a warning, instead of as a tool of massacre. Decades later, I can’t say I feel any differently.

RICHARD BELCHER
FUCHU, TOKYO

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.