News / Asia

Nagasaki Marks US Atomic Bombing Anniversary

Local residents pray for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing during a mass at the Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki, western Japan, on the 68th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, in this photo taken by Kyodo, Aug. 9, 2013.
Local residents pray for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing during a mass at the Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki, western Japan, on the 68th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, in this photo taken by Kyodo, Aug. 9, 2013.
VOA News
The Japanese city of Nagasaki has observed the 68th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing that reduced the city to rubble and ended WWII.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue criticized the Japanese government at a ceremony Friday for refusing to sign a statement rejecting the use of nuclear weapons. The statement was offered at an international disarmament meeting in April.

The United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, killing about 140,000 people. Days later, on August 9, Nagasaki was hit by a second nuclear bomb that killed about 70,000.

Hiroshima held an observance of the first bombing on Tuesday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a crowd of about 50,000 that Japan has a unique responsibility to push for the end of nuclear weapons.

  • Doves fly near the Peace Statue in Nagasaki's Peace Park during a ceremony commemorating the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city, August 9, 2013. (Reuters/Kyodo)
  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offers a flower wreath for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing during a ceremony at Peace Park in Nagasaki, August 9, 2013. (Reuters/Kyodo)
  • People pray for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing during a mass at the Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki on the 68th anniversary of the bombing of the city, August 9, 2013. (Reuters/Kyodo)
  • Pacifists stage a demonstration at the Peace Wall in Paris, to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, August 9, 2013.
  • Students arrange themselves into the formation of a dove to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Chennai, India, August 8, 2013.
  • A student participates in a peace rally to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in Mumbai, August 6, 2013.

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by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 09, 2013 10:41 PM
Thank you friends for your compassion to innocent victims including a lot of christians in Nagasaki city. It has been deeply and widely surveyed and argued about the cause and course of WWII and the meanings of atomic bombs dropped on Japan twice. I would rather being apart from such arguments becasue it would be impossible to come to one definitive conclusion due to the different positions of each stakes.

To tell the truth, what I have been most interested in concerning this war is the sentiment that we Japanese probably and wonderingly have not been hating US the country dropping the atomic bombs. Why? Not only my generation who were born after the WWII but those who experienced the war also looks forgetting the suffering of atomic bombs. Why?

Was the way of US's governning Japan aftermath so excellent that us Japanese feel even some friendship to US?
It would explain partly but not all. I suppose the specific characteristics of Japanese sensitivity which is probably native to Buddhism and Shintoism would responsible for answering the question. To be good or not, we Japanese tend to accept what happened beyond the reach of our ability as what it is, as seen in the last earthquake and Tsunami disasters. The technology and fund of developing and operating atomic bombs were so astonishing and overwhelming things to those days' Japanese people.

PM Abe said we Japanese have a unique responsibility to push for the end of nuclear weapons. This "unique" means we are the only nation which suffered atomic bombs and we could and should tell about the disaster of victims to around the world. It has been a lot of time over 68 years since WWII ended and major part of population is postwar generation now. The memory of suffering atomic bombs is fading even in Japan. We should keep recalling our pain and calling for abandone of atomic weapons on concerning countries. I wish all over the world war free and eternal peace. Thank you.


by: Ted Smith
August 09, 2013 8:13 PM
ONE WEEK BEFORE MY 2ND BIRTHDAY, THE LITTLE BOY AND THE FAT MAN SNUFFED OUT WORLD WAR 2. WITHOUT THEM, THE CHANCES ARE VERY GOOD THAT I WOULD NEVER HAVE KNOWN MY FATHER, WHO WOULD HAVE BEEN CAUGHT UP IN AN INVASION AND LAND BATTLE FOR THE JAPANESE HOME ISLANDS. IT IS FOR THAT REASON THAT I HAVE THOUGHT FOR MY ENTIRE LIFE THAT THE INVENTION AND USE OF THE ATOMIC BOMB WAS THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO MANKIND.


by: catharina from: usa
August 09, 2013 7:52 PM
This is a sad day of rememberance,horrible horror inflicted on innocent civilians even though it did stop the war.Yes we do have a resonibility to stop nuclear weapons,what seems to be a bit more urgent at the moment is the nuclear leak at Fukishima plant, if we do not stop that soon we will all be sick and there will not be a 136 th aniversary.


by: Kim from: Japan
August 09, 2013 5:11 PM
To Sing.
About the "Sex slaves (comfort women)", it has been proved that they were completely just professional prostitutes; a diary written by a Korean man who was an assistant of the prostitutes was found 3 days ago in Busan, S. Korea. The diary written in Hangul and Japanese character says “I sent 600 Yen (about USD 25000 – 60000, now) to Korea on behalf of a comfort woman”. It reveals that so called "Sex slaves (comfort women)" were really rich! Were they “slaves”?? No! They were professionals, just like such kind of women we can see in Myondong, Seoul even now.

In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 11, 2013 6:15 PM
To Andrew. You look like extremist judging from some words, ultra-nationalist, at the top of the colonial hierarcy. Why are you so angry? Was someone of your relatives acually caught as ex slaves? If you tell calmly on the basis of facts and data, you would be more agreed. That is too bad.

In Response

by: Andrew from: Australia
August 10, 2013 3:53 AM
Here we go again! Another Japanese ultra-nationalist attempting to whitewash Japanese war-crimes! What about the journals of the women who HAD been kidnapped and forced into sexual bondage? Oh yeah, they're probably "fake!" Let's not forget that even the United States Congress passed a resolution urging the Japanese government to apologize SINCERELY. Women from my homeland (Australia) and Dutch women were also used by the Japanese as sex slaves. I'm pretty sure respectable European women who were at the top of the colonial hierarchy would sell their bodies willingly! You would be so willing to discuss and criticize other nations for their (in comparison to your own country's) minimal crimes, but never the crimes of YOUR country!

In Response

by: Kim from: Japan
August 09, 2013 6:05 PM
P.S. The diary also says, "...they (2 comfort women) enjoyed shopping and Japanese movie today".... It reveals that comfort women were happy and enjoying their lives, just like other young women in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and US at that time, but gone.


by: Colvin Domingo from: Midland Texas
August 09, 2013 4:14 PM
(1) The veils of these Japanese ladies immediately indicated to me that they are Roman Catholics. VOA confirms this with their word "mass" which is Catholic.

(2) Japan was in a 100 year isolation. Catholic Church thought there were zero Catholics in Japan after 3 generations of persecutions. But with religious services for foreign consular officials/personnel established, a group of simple Japanese timidly sent one of them into a newly established consulate office who asked the official there:
(a) Do you believe in Mary?
(b) Do you believe in the Pope?
When the foreign official answered "YES" to these 2 questions, the Japanese gestured a signal, and all these hidden Japanese came forward. Their leader said to the consular official, "Then what you believe is what we believe. We are Catholics who have been hiding all these 100 years."

(3) Akita is the Japanese city where these Japanese Catholics were hiding

(4) According to EWTN, America was aiming at dropping the second hydrogen bomb at another Japanese city. But at the last moment, America decided to bomb Nagasaki.

(5) America thought they were bombing a Japanese City. BUT AMERICA WAS BOMBING THE CATHOLICS IN JAPAN WHO WERE HIDING FROM THE JAPANESE FOR 100 YEARS !!!!


by: Victor from: Lagos, Nigeria
August 09, 2013 3:34 PM
[This day in History i.e. -1945], a second atom-bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan; 39,000 people were killed and 25,000 injured. [Three days earlier] an American warplane dropped the first atom-bomb on Hiroshima. About half [of Nagasaki’s] structures were destroyed or damaged. Never before in the history of mankind had such a powerful weapon been used. The world had changed. It had entered the nuclear age. Within a few years, the United States, the former Soviet Union, Great Britain, France, and China developed the much more destructive hydrogen-bomb.
Despite such developments, however, “this is no time for complacency when it comes to the threat of nuclear war,” said [then] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He added: “Nuclear conflict remains a very real and very terrifying possibility at the beginning of the 21st century.” Lamentably, a nuclear disaster—far worse than what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki—is still a threat in our day. Who is threatening? More important, can it be avoided?
[Excerpt from a past edition of the Awake! magazine]

*** g04 3/8 p. 3 Nuclear War—Is It Still a Threat? *** [Excerpt from a past edition of the Awake! magazine]


by: GH1618 from: USA
August 09, 2013 3:16 PM
Without disputing the contribution of the bombing of Hiroshima to the ending of the war, it seems to me that the bombing og Nagasaki was gratuitous. The "second blow" after Hiroshima was the declaration of war against Japan by the Soviet Union on August 8, dashing Japanese hopes for Russian assistance in modifying the terms of surrender. The Emperor stated his acceptance of the Allied terms to his cabinet that same day. The Supreme War Council was evenly divided and the bombing of Nagasaki the next day, and subsequent conventional bombings, changed no positions. The process leading to formal surrender was already in motion. A few days were required to complete it because of the nature of Japanese political system and because of determined resistance to surrender from the hard-liners.

A detailed account of the events leading to the formal Japanese surrender can be found in "Japan's Longest Day," compiled by The Pacific War Research Society and published in English by Kodansha International Ltd.


by: graziela from: Brazil
August 09, 2013 1:52 PM
I read with horror Americans comments blaming Japan... Nothing, not even WWII was a reason to use mass destruction weapons, especially under those circumstances: Hitler dead, the war practically won, and an atomic bomb dropped on thousands of children. Not everything is acceptable even in war. That is why the term war criminals exist. Criminals...

In Response

by: Sing from: USA
August 09, 2013 3:30 PM
May be you should read more facts on the WWII not just Europe but East Asia (Manchuria and Korea). Then you may think Japanese deserved the bomb plus more. Have you heard of forced sex slaves (comfort women), biological and chemical warfare in northern China war theatre, Batam death march, Nanking massacre 300000+ lives aren't they innocent too. The cruelties Imperial Japanese army inflicted on civilian is not normal human can imagine. With the nationalistic Abe government trying to re-write all these and Japan do not want to face historical facts and history will repeat itself one form or another.


by: mary from: us
August 09, 2013 10:57 AM
Americans still do not accept that it was terrible to use atom bomb in world war and killing all those inocent people and still after all these years they are blaming and critisizing the other party. The issue is even in war atom wapons should not be used.EVEN IN WAR. Is that very difficult to understand? When a part feels is going to be loser uses atom bomb and ruin and kill and then is proud of ending WWII.


by: Dave from: PA
August 09, 2013 10:11 AM
There are peace loving Japanese. Unfortunately they are rarely heard, and they never seem in control. Current Japanese government want to redefine their aggression in WII, and do not mind to do it again.

Japan still do not know why they got hit, and may very well get hit again in the future. Mark these words.

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