Japan marked the 62nd anniversary of Hiroshima's atomic bombing
with a solemn ceremony yesterday as the city's mayor criticized the
United States for refusing to give up its nuclear weapons
Tens of thousands of elderly survivors, children and dignitaries
gathered at the Peace Memorial Park, near ground zero where the
bomb was dropped, to remember the more than 250,000 people who
ultimately died from the blast.
"Even to those who managed to survive, it was hell where they
envied the dead," Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba told the crowd,
describing scenes from the bombing such as charred faces and torn
In a speech followed by the release of 1,000 white doves into
the sky, Akiba singled out the United States for failing to halt
"The Japanese government, which has the duty to work for the
abolition of nuclear weapons through international law, should
protect its pacifist constitution which it should be proud of, and
clearly say 'no' to antiquated and wrong US policies."
The crowd bowed their heads for a moment of silence as two
children rang the Peace Bell at 8:15 AM, the same time the Enola
Gay B-29 bomber dropped the bomb on the western Japanese city on
August 6, 1945.
The United States dropped a second atomic bomb on the southern
city of Nagasaki on August 9. Six days later, Japan
This year's anniversary followed outrage by local residents over
remarks by Japan's former defense minister that had appeared to
condone the bombings.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologized on Sunday to survivors in
Hiroshima over the comments by Fumio Kyuma, who had said the
bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki "couldn't be helped" because
they brought World War II to an end.
Kyuma resigned over the remarks.
Abe, after laying a wreath at the ceremony in the sweltering
summer heat, said he would abide by Japan's pacifist constitution
and decades-old non-nuclear policy.
Controversy erupted last year when a senior ruling party
lawmaker said Japan should discuss acquiring nuclear weapons after
the North Korea conducted a nuclear test.
(China Daily via agencies August 7, 2007)