U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres walks by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (seated second left) and Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi (seated left) during a memorial in Hiroshima on Saturday morning. Photo: AFP
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Hiroshima marks 77th memorial of A-bombing amid Russia threat

46 Comments
By Mari Yamaguchi

Hiroshima on Saturday remembered the atomic bombing 77 years ago as officials, including the head of the United Nations, warned against nuclear weapons buildup and as fears grow of another such attack amid Russia's war on Ukraine.

"Nuclear weapons are nonsense. They guarantee no safety - only death and destruction," said U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who joined the prayer at the Hiroshima Peace Park.

"Three quarters of a century later, we must ask what we've learned from the mushroom cloud that swelled above this city in 1945," he said.

The United States dropped the world's first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, destroying the city and killing 140,000 people. It dropped a second bomb three days later on Nagasaki, killing another 70,000. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, ending World War II and Japan's nearly half-century of aggression in Asia.

Fears of a third atomic bombing have grown amid Russia's threats of nuclear attack since its war on Ukraine began in February.

"Crises with grave nuclear undertones are spreading fast" in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula, Guterres said. "We are one mistake, one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from Armageddon."

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, in his peace declaration, accused Putin of "using his own people as instruments of war and stealing the lives and livelihoods of innocent civilians in another country."

Russia's war on Ukraine is helping build support for nuclear deterrence, Matsui said, urging the world not to repeat the mistakes that destroyed his city nearly eight decades ago.

On Saturday, attendees including government leaders and diplomats observed a moment of silence with the sound of a peace bell at 8:15 a.m., the time when the U.S. B-29 dropped the bomb on the city. About 400 doves, considered symbols of peace, were released.

Guterres met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida after the ceremony and raised alarm over the global retreat in nuclear disarmament, stressing the importance for Japan, the world's only nation to have suffered nuclear attacks, to take leadership in the effort, Japan's Foreign Ministry said.

Kishida escorted Guterres in the peace museum, where they each folded an origami crane - a symbol of peace and nuclear weapons abolition.

Russia and its ally Belarus were not invited to this year's peace memorial. Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Galuzin on Thursday offered flowers at a memorial epitaph in the park and told reporters his country would never use nuclear weapons.

The world continues to face threats from nuclear weapons, Kishida said at the memorial.

"I must raise my voice to appeal to the people around the world that the tragedy of nuclear weapons use should never be repeated," he said. "Japan will walk its path toward a world without nuclear weapons, no matter how narrow, steep or difficult that may be."

Kishida, who will host a Group of Seven summit meeting next May in Hiroshima, said he hoped to share his pledge with other G7 leaders "before the peace monument" to unite them to protect peace and international order based on the universal values of freedom and democracy.

Matsui criticized nuclear weapon states, including Russia, for not taking steps despite their pledge to abide by obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"Rather than treating a world without nuclear weapons like a distant dream, they should be taking concrete steps toward its realization," he said.

Critics say Kishida's call for a nuclear-free world is hollow because Japan remains under the U.S. nuclear umbrella and continues to boycott the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Kishida said the treaty, which lacks the U.S. and other nuclear powers, is not realistic at the moment and that Japan needs to bridge the divide between non-nuclear and nuclear powers.

Many survivors of the bombings have lasting injuries and illnesses resulting from the explosions and radiation exposure and face discrimination in Japan.

The government began to provide medical support to certified survivors in 1968 after more than 20 years of effort by them.

As of March, 118,935 survivors, whose average age now exceeds 84, are certified as eligible for government medical support, according to the Health and Welfare Ministry. But many others, including those who say they were victims of the "black rain" that fell outside of the initially designated areas, are still without support.

Aging survivors, known in Japan as hibakusha, continue to push for a nuclear ban and hope to convince younger generations to join the movement.

Guterres had a message for younger people: "Finish the work that the hibakusha have begun. Carry their message forward. In their names, in their honor, in their memory - we must act."

© 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

46 Comments
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@Wallace

There is no dichotomy there.

Buddhism is a religion of peace. Guns are instruments of peace. So are nuclear weapons.

When my country conducted its first nuclear test it was codenamed ‘Operation Smiling Buddha’.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

EvilBuddha

I support sovereign nations developing nuclear weapons for the same reason that I support gun rights for all law abiding individuals.

Buddhist with an atomic bomb and a gun.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Nuclear weapons are nonsense. They guarantee no safety - only death and destruction,"

Except the only time they were used they guaranteed the safety of millions of Japanese, hundreds of thousands of allies, and tens of thousands of Korean forced laborers in Japan.

And have guaranteed safety in Asia and Europe since the use. And of course guarantee the safety of the only democratic country in the Middle East, Israel.

Guterres had a message for younger people: "Finish the work that the hibakusha have begun. Carry their message forward. In their names, in their honor, in their memory - we must act."

How about the message, No more war.?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Toward the end of the war Japan's know-how for developing an atomic bomb was at an inception stage. It was nuclear physicist Yoshio Nishina, who was charged with Japan's nuclear weapons development program on the order of IJA, who confirmed that the so-called "special bomb" dropped on Hiroshima was an atomic bomb.

Japan might have used an atomic bomb on the U.S., no doubt, if it had developed one first, provided it had a means to carry out the strategy, because of a desperate situation it was put under. The catch is: Was the U.S. similarly so desperate to change the course of the war and so had to resort to atomic bombs over a dying Japan, whose defeat was imminent to anyone's eyes?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan would have surrendered without vast suffering of civilians, including children, and generational trauma and health issues. 

What if Japan got access to the Atomic Bomb first?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Randy Johnson,

I am posting my comments not as an Okinawan but as an individual of the mankind and a world citizen. In other words, Hiroshima and Nagasaki must be discussed as universal issues, not as localized nation-to-nation ones.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

They didn't have to drop those bombs, voiceofOkinawa, I totally agree with you. Yet two bombs were dropped on Japan, but not on the white Germans. They just wanted to test out their new weapons. It was a war crime.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Randy Johnson,

Now then, if what you mention in your post is true, does that justify why the U.S. had to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, instantly killing tens of thousands of people engaged in daily routines?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan would have surrendered without vast suffering of civilians, including children, and generational trauma and health issues. You cannot justify the nuclear bombing of Japan by saying it was better for the Japanese, that would be wrong and crass. But then, that doesn't seem to bother you.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

They were not government actions, they were military actions.

So it was ok to murder tens of thousands of innocent civilians for military actions they didn't contribute to, nor have any say in?

Please make your wuestion (if it is a question) direct. Questions begin with "what, who, which, is, etc. etc. etc. And not "so". I often teach my Japanese students this.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

And should he feel that the murder of tens of thousands of innocent civilians for government actions was justified?

They were not government actions, they were military actions. Incidentally, it was the actions of the Japanese military government during WW2, which led to these to incidents.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Invading other countries is wrong! War is wrong! I pray for peace!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

voiceofokinawaToday  12:00 am JST

Wow. You know very well young teenage japanese boys were used by the japanese govt as suicide bombers on okinawa to blow up allied tanks yet you intentionally refused to acknowledge that fact ( japanese govt admits it, why don't/can't you) and you try to ignore that Ketsu Go ( use japanese civilians to help fight the allies to the last japanese ) was an order by the japanese govt and then you try to pretend what it has to do with hiroshima when it was explicitly stated by the japanese govt that Ketsu Go was implemented.

That is an extremely disingenuous discussion.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Randy Johnson,

Toward the end of World War II when the invasion of Okinawa by Allied Forces was looming, boy students of junior high schools and of the boys' normal school were recruited to help IJA Okinawa defense forces mostly for scouting and other chores. Girl students were also recruited to tend to sick and wounded soldiers as apprentice nurses.

What's that to do with the calamity resulting from the atomic bombs?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@trevor

Sad terrible news.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Hiroshima on Saturday remembered the atomic bombing 77 years ago 

Let's not forget the 25,000 Koreans forced laborers along with several Allied prisoners of war. who died there because of Japan's aggression.

Has the Japanese government ever apologized to those people's families? Let's make it a yearly event.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

@FizzBit, Russia's still the bad guy. Or, how about we just say Russia is the 'badder' guy, today. Maybe not yesterday, maybe not tomorrow, but I have to ask this - do you have a close friend who was raped and then killed in Ukraine, after Feb24? I do (or did) and I'm more than vexed about that. I'd assassinate Putin if I had the chance, regardless of the politics that evolved after Ukraine left the USSR. Yes, there were (and are) bad guys on both sides, but vicious and obscene treatment of women and children is beyond the pale.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

It's important to understand cause and effect.

Maybe.

The WW II aggressors did nothing different than what the modern world up to that time had been doing for centuries.

IMO, what’s most important to understand is that we humans are not capable of managing our technology. We always use it to better kill each other. Many today quacking on and on about democracy and yet my wonderful USA, a so called democracy, has dished out more death and destruction since WW2, and somehow, Russia is the bad guy. Strange days indeed.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

It's rather simple. If countries didn't invade each other there would be no nuclear weapons. Unfortunately some countries (aggressors) decided too. Everyone knows who were the aggressors in WW2. It can't be denied. It's important to understand cause and effect.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

China in the early 1950s was nearly going to be the next Hiroshima/Nagasaki as American declassified documents show. Unfortunately for Pacific Islanders, their backyard instead became the next Hiroshima/Nagasaki. They're still paying the price thanks to USA.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Definitely far more atrocious and inhumane than the occasional beheading of prisoners of war by IJA officers. 

Oh! The occasional beheading. So some see the issue of atrocities as a numbers game.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

amid Russia threat

what threat? Did the writer even write the headline? Clearly no threat was mentioned in the article.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Israel also owns nuclear arsenals, why nobody questions about her procession of this weapon, why?

They never test nukes but was that meaning they are not nuclear armed!?

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Every year at August in Japan, they(Some people) are playing :

"The nuclear victimhood" to boost their own political issue.

So selfish those people!

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

Bells tolled in Hiroshima on Saturday as the city marked the 77th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing, with officials — including the United Nations Secretary General — warning of a new arms race following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24; shortly after the start of the invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin obliquely raised the possibility of a nuclear strike. The conflict has also heightened concerns about the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear plants.

https://worldabcnews.com/hiroshima-marks-atomic-bombing-anniversary-amid-fears-of-a-new-nuclear-arms-race/

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Russia and its ally Belarus were not invited to this year's peace memorial.

But the country who actually bombed japan with atomic bobs attended. What did Russia do to Japan ?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Fear and LoathingToday  02:02 pm JST

I shudder to think that you would rather have seen the complete destruction of japan by the order of the japanese govt of the order of Ketsu Go which demanded that all japanese civilians fight to the last japanese.

That is the true evil.

-16 ( +2 / -18 )

Never again!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

An armed conflict between nations horrifies us. But the economic war is no better than an armed conflict. An economic war is prolonged torture. And its ravages are no less terrible than those depicted in the literature on war. The movement against war is sound. I pray for its success - Mahatma Gandhi

4 ( +6 / -2 )

voiceofokinawaToday  11:53 am JST

Voice of okinawa?

Anybody who knows okinawan history knows very well about the Iron Student Corp when boys aged 14-17 year old boys ( some reportedly as young as 9 years old ) were ordered to be suicide bombers to blow up allied tanks.

And everyone knows about Ketsu Go which was a japanese govt order to have all japanese civilians to fight to the last japanese.

It's a cop out of japanese revisionists to deny these facts.

-10 ( +9 / -19 )

My thoughts exactly? 

Russia is not threatening Japan

russia were not threatening Ukraine either, until they invaded them.

but your thoughts are only pro-Russia / anti-west

0 ( +8 / -8 )

In early August every year the Japanese play victims to the nth degree and then when the middle of August comes round their leaders all rush out to pay homage to their LDP,in most cases,forefathers who orchestrated such events that resulted in the early-August bombings.You cannot make these things up.

-4 ( +12 / -16 )

EastmanToday  01:23 pm JST

what russian threat?

did Russia have invaded Japan?

No peace treaty has been signed since 1945, therefore a state of war actually continues to exist.

Japan signed a peace treaty with most of the world in 1951. The USSR did not attend.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

bokudaToday  11:35 am JST

Sadly Japan wants more nuclear bombs in its arsenal.

With Russia's war in Ukraine, Japan renews focus on nuclear deterrence

https://japantoday.com/category/politics/focus-with-russia's-war-japan-renews-focus-on-nuclear-deterrence

Very misleading post,

Firstly, Japan does not maintain a "nuclear arsenal". Secondly, Japan falls under the U.S. Nuclear umbrella which also covers South Korea and Australia,

Japan is considering entering a Nuclear Sharing Arrangement, something that even Germany enjoys.

And there is nothing sad about it when you consider that Japan is surrounded by North Korea, China and Russia, al nuclear armed autocracies.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Hiroshima marks 77th memorial of A-bombing 

RIP to the victims and strength and health to the survivors.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The nuclear bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a heinous war crime. I cannot believe that to justify nuking women and children, someone with an interest in Japan thinks that it is acceptable to say that 'women and children would have been charging with spears.' Seriously, messed up thinking. Those weapons did not need to be used, Japan was on its knees, and conventional weapons against soldiers would have sufficed. Have people no soul left at all?

12 ( +22 / -10 )

If Governments stop invading other countries to occupy them and gain riches coupled with the aim of taking over the world ~ there would not ever be a need to drop nukes. There are two sides to every argument. Why do I never hear something about the mistakes some countries make before nukes are used on them? Why talk about the country who dropped the nukes and not the country who was invading China, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, etc...?

Have you learned not to invade Nanking ever again?

-3 ( +16 / -19 )

It’s a time to celebrate the destruction of a military state willing to sacrifice women and children to remain in power at all costs. Yes it was bad but the alternative? Women and children charging with bamboo spears machine guns?

-12 ( +7 / -19 )

Eastman......

My thoughts exactly?

Russia is not threatening Japan. Japan is threatening Russia by hosting its puppet masters forces.

-6 ( +12 / -18 )

what russian threat?

did Russia have invaded Japan?

or what kind of...threat?

daijobu desuka?

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

I support sovereign nations developing nuclear weapons for the same reason that I support gun rights for all law abiding individuals.

Folks here may not agree with me but the major reason why we have not had an all out war between the major nuclear powers since World War 2 is because of the threat of mutually assured destruction.

Soviet Union wanted to attack China with nuclear weapons in the late 60s until the Americans stepped in with threats of their own. 

The MAD doctrine means that we should all stop worrying and start loving the nuclear bomb.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

So, let’s have a unilateral nuclear missle reduction statements from the US, France , the UK etc!

An ice cube in hell would have more chance

History shows that states with nuclear weapons can resist invasion and those without cannot.

And the conclusion is ?

0 ( +7 / -7 )

M. A. D. Mutual Assured Destruction

Nobody wins when you start chucking nukes about!

Hopefully, no of us will experience it.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The Manhattan Project was initiated out of fears that Nazi Germany might finish developing atomic bombs ahead of the Allies. However, when Nazi Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945, it was found that Germany had relinquished its plan to develop atomic bombs, whereby the raison d'etre of the Manhattan Project was lost all across the board.

Nevertheless, the project to develop atomic bombs continued albeit with many opposing voices from among the relevant physicists, and the first test of an atomic bomb was successfully carried out on July 16, 1945. Didn’t Robert Oppenheimer, Director of the project, who is also known as the father of atomic bombs, become a staunch anti-nuke later on?

But the primary target of the atomic bombing, Nazi Germany, was gone already, so that the U.S. government shifted the target of bombing to a dying Japan. By that time, all the infrastructures of cities in Japan were almost nonexistent, having been destroyed by incessant B-29 bombardments. The sky over Japan was in complete control of the U.S. air force whereby the Enola Gay, the little boy (atomic bomb)-carrying aircraft, could drop the bomb on Hiroshima without facing any counter offensive.

In a sense, the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an experimentation of new weapons on live human beings. In that sense, the use of atomic bombs was nothing different from the atrocity of Unit 731 of the IJA.

Definitely far more atrocious and inhumane than the occasional beheading of prisoners of war by IJA officers. Note, however, the perpetrators were caught and executed as war criminals after the war except Gen. Shiro Ishii of Unit 731, who was spared of his life in exchange of all the medical records of vivisections being given to the U.S. authorities. 

To say the atomic bombings were necessary to end the war quickly is nothing but a cop-out that the victor side had to add afterwards to justify the use of the diabolic weapons. You can't sleep a wink at night unless you justified yourself and thought that your action had been correct and righteous.

7 ( +17 / -10 )

Sadly Japan wants more nuclear bombs in its arsenal.

With Russia's war in Ukraine, Japan renews focus on nuclear deterrence

https://japantoday.com/category/politics/focus-with-russia's-war-japan-renews-focus-on-nuclear-deterrence

-11 ( +8 / -19 )

Nuclear weapons a loaded gun, U.N. chief warns in Hiroshima

Newsflash from 1945.

It could be argued that the presence of nuclear weapons on both sides is one factor in limiting the conflict in Ukraine.

And preventing a world war between NATO and Russia.

It only takes one miscalculation though.

https://www.vox.com/2018/9/26/17905796/nuclear-war-1983-stanislav-petrov-soviet-union

1 ( +9 / -8 )

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