الأحد , يونيو 14 2020

Japan remembers Nagasaki bomb

Early morning Mass celebrated at Nagasaki's Urakami Cathedral, 9 Aug

An early morning Mass was celebrated on Sunday at Nagasaki’s Urakami Cathedral

The Japanese city of Nagasaki is marking 70 years since the dropping of an atomic bomb by the United States.

A ceremony at the Nagasaki Peace Park observed a minute’s silence, followed by speeches by the Nagasaki mayor and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

A cathedral that was destroyed by the bomb but later rebuilt celebrated a remembrance Mass.

At least 70,000 people died in the attack, which came three days after another bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

Nagasaki was only chosen because the original target, Kokura, was obscured by a cloud.


Much of the city was flattened by the attack

In pictures: The Nagasaki bombing

A solemn ceremony in front of guests from 75 countries began on Sunday with a declaration read out by children.

A minute’s silence and bells marked the time of the explosion at 11:02 (02:02 GMT). Nagasaki mayor Tomihisa Taue then delivered a peace declaration to the ceremony.

In his address to the ceremony, Mr Abe said Japan remained “determined to pursue a world without nuclear weapons”.

In a statement read out on his behalf, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: “Nagasaki must be the last – we cannot allow any future use of nuclear weapons. The humanitarian consequences are too great. No more Nagasakis. No more Hiroshimas.”


A computer graphic video of the mushroom cloud of the atomic bomb blast is projected on to the Urakami Cathedral on the eve of the anniversary

The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Tokyo says that a real passion has grown in both Nagasaki and Hiroshima for peace and nuclear disarmament.

He says that is perhaps why Mr Abe, who is seen as a revisionist who has questioned the judgments made on Japan for its actions during World War Two, was applauded with much less enthusiasm than for the other speakers.

‘Thunder in a clear sky’

The effects of the bomb were instant and devastating. It destroyed a third of the city, killing thousands instantly and condemning more to death from radiation sickness.

Days later, Japan surrendered, ending World War II, although the necessity of the two bombs has been debated ever since.

“It was a clear, sunny day and there was a sudden, blinding flash,” remembered one Nagasaki survivor, Toru Mine, who now guides visitors at a museum dedicated to the event.

“My first thought was that it should be a thunder, but I soon realised it’s bizarre to have a thunder in a clear sky.”

Another survivor, 86-year-old Sumiteru Taniguchi, still bears scars on his back, the remains of three ribs that half rotted after the bomb dropped protruding from his chest.

”While people around me were dying, I lived. People say I survived but I think I was kept alive. I am still suffering,” he said.


Sumiteru Taniguchi worked as a courier at the time, and was barely a mile from the epicentre

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