Hiroshima A-bomb victims remembered after 75 years
NHK -- Aug 06
People in Japan are taking a moment to pause and remember the victims of a catastrophic event.

Seventy five years ago, an American warplane dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

An estimated 140,000 people lost their lives by the end of the year.

While following safety measures in place for the coronavirus, people haven't been prevented from reflecting on the tragedy and praying for world peace.

A 91-year-old survivor of the bombing said, "When you think about that time, it's tragic and cruel. This kind of tragedy should never happen again."

A man in his 50s said, "My parents are survivors. I've come here to tell victims that I will never forget them even though I haven't been able to do anything to abolish nuclear weapons."

About 800 people attended the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony including survivors of the bombing, known as hibakusha. They are getting older with their average age now over 83.

Representatives of 80 countries were also there.

Due to the pandemic, the number of people attending the event was limited to less than one-tenth of the usual.

Hiroshima Mayor Matsui Kazumi placed a list of the victims in a cenotaph. It includes the names of 4,943 survivors who died over the past year.

324,129 people are now commemorated in the monument.

The city fell silent at 8:15 a.m., the exact moment when the US bomb struck the city.

In the peace declaration, the mayor urged world leaders to work toward a security system that does not rely on nuclear weapons.

Matsui said, "As the only nation to suffer a nuclear attack, Japan must persuade the global public to unite with the spirit of Hiroshima. To enhance its role as mediator between the nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states, I ask the Japanese government to heed the appeal of the hibakusha that it sign and ratify, and become a party to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons."

Nuclear powers like the US and Russia do not support the treaty. And Japan, which relies on nuclear protection from the US, hasn't signed it.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has maintained Japan will not join the UN treaty. He has said the treaty's goal of nuclear abolishment is the same as Japan's, but their approaches are different.

Abe said, "While adhering to the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, our nation will serve as a bridge between countries that take different stands and persist in urging dialogue and prompting them into action. By doing so, we will lead efforts made by the global community to realize a world without nuclear weapons."

The prime minister also said Japan will work to make the next review conference of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty a significant one.

The meeting was due to be held in April, but postponed to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A local high school choir brought the ceremony to a close with a song calling for peace.

原爆投下から75年を迎えました。広島市の松井一実市長は平和記念式典で核兵器や新型コロナといった人類の脅威に対して「連帯」して立ち向かう必要性を訴えました。  松井一実広島市長:「今、私たちは新型コロナウイルスという人類に対する新たな脅威に立ち向かい、もがいていますが、この脅威は悲惨な過去の経験を反面教師にすることで乗り越えられるのではないでしょうか。約100年前に流行したスペイン風邪は第1次世界大戦中で敵対する国家間での『連帯』がかなわなかったため数千万人の犠牲者を出し、世界中を恐怖に陥れました。その後、国家主義の台頭もあって第2次世界大戦へと突入し、原爆投下へとつながりました。こうした過去の苦い経験を決して繰り返してはなりません。そのために私たち市民社会は自国第一主義によることなく、『連帯』して脅威に立ち向かわなければなりません」  6日午前8時から開かれた平和記念式典で松井市長はこのように述べたうえで、「核兵器禁止条約」への署名・批准を政府に対して去年より強く求めました。被爆75年の今年、被爆者の平均年齢は83歳を超え、あの日の惨状を話せる人は年々、少なくなっています。今年は座席の間隔を2メートル空け、座席数を去年の1割に制限するなど例年とは違った式典となりました。
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
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