Japan marks 73rd anniversary of atomic bombing of Hiroshima


A ceremony was held at the Peace Memorial Park, where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Japan's responsibility is to bridge the gap between nuclear and non-nuclear nations.

"Certain countries are blatantly proclaiming self-centered nationalism and modernizing their nuclear arsenals, rekindling tensions that had eased with the end of the Cold War", Matsui said.

Participants in Monday's ceremony - survivors, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and representatives from 80 countries - observed a minute's silence at 8:15 a.m., the moment when the USA dropped its payload on the unsuspecting population 73 years ago.

The Aug. 6, 1945, bombing of Hiroshima killed 140,000 people.

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Some of the hibakusha, many now aged over 82, have been working with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons to help a treaty to be adopted by the United Nations to ban nuclear weapons.

Japan suffered two nuclear attacks by the United States at the end of World War II - the first on Hiroshima and then Nagasaki three days later. "I never heard the words 'atomic bomb, '" he told NPR. It was the first use of nuclear weapons against human beings.

"Our nation, while maintaining our (non-nuclear weapons) principles, will patiently work to serve as a bridge between the two sides and lead efforts by the worldwide community" to reduce nuclear weapons, Abe said.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in his message during the ceremony that Hiroshima's legacy is one of "resilience" and sought continued moral support from the hibakusha survivors for efforts in promoting the ban of nuclear weapons.

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Speakers include Michael Vaughn, a military veteran; Denise Donnell of the Just Communities of Arkansas organization; Tristan Norman, a Hendrix College student-delegate who visited Japan earlier this year; and Frank LeBlanc, pastor of Westover Hills Presbyterian Church.

"They can't imagine what it was like because it feels like a different world, but it's important to keep telling them", Makita said.

Although it's impossible to relive a moment in history, a group of the students have recreated the moment an atomic bomb dropped over the city through VR to portray the livelihood of people that was taken away as a result of the bombing. A survey conducted by the Kyodo News agency showed 81 percent of the survivors want Japan to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

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