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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs