News

60th Anniversary of Hiroshima Bomb Comes at Watershed Time for Japan

Multimedia

Audio

The Japanese city of Hiroshima is marking the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city by a U.S. military aircraft in the closing days of World War II. More than 50,000 people attended a somber ceremony on Saturday, and, elsewhere in the city, international groups met to renew vows to eliminate all nuclear weapons.

Thousands of elderly survivors of the bombing, joined by Japanese and foreign dignitaries, bowed their heads at 8:15 a.m. - the exact moment of the attack - offering silent prayers for world peace and for the souls of those who died in the atomic detonation.

Cicadas buzzed amid wafting incense in the hot and humid air, as an additional 5,375 names were added to the Hiroshima Peace Park cenotaph, bringing the total number of those considered to have died as a result of exposure to the atomic blast to more than 242,000.

Those who addressed the crowd at the hypocenter of the atomic explosion, repeated their annual vow of no more Hiroshimas.

Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, in his annual peace declaration, called on the United Nations to take specific steps to eliminate nuclear weapons by 2020. He criticized nuclear armed states - singling out the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea by name - as jeopardizing human survival by ignoring the majority voices of the people and governments of the world, who, he said, want to eliminate such weapons.

The mayor said Japan's pacifist constitution should be a guiding light for the 21st century. But many conservatives in Japan are pushing for that light to be switched to a different tint. They want to modify the American-imposed constitution, especially the article that forbids Japan from using military force to settle international disputes.

Japan's move to the right is also reflected in comments by politicians and academics about whether Japan should possess its own nuclear weapons, a topic not long ago unthinkable in mainstream discussion.

Earlier in the week, Japan's governing Liberal Democratic Party proposed that the country's military not be restricted to self defense, but also be allowed to join global security activities.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is viewed by many in Hiroshima as a key proponent of a more hawkish Japan. His brief and subdued remarks to the A-bomb survivors were received with respectful, but brief applause.

Mr. Koizumi said he offered heartfelt and deep prayers for those who died in the atomic bombing. The prime minister vowed that Japan would continue to be a leader against nuclear proliferation.

Mr. Koizumi will repeat similar words in Nagasaki, where a plutonium bomb dropped by an American bomber on August 9, 1945, killed some 80,000 people. Japan surrendered the following week, bringing an end to the Second World War.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs