News / Asia

Nagasaki Marks Atomic Bomb Anniversary

Doves surround the Peace Statue in Nagasaki's Peace Park in a ceremony commemorating the Japanese city's 1945 atomic bombing in photo taken by Kyodo Aug. 9, 2014.
Doves surround the Peace Statue in Nagasaki's Peace Park in a ceremony commemorating the Japanese city's 1945 atomic bombing in photo taken by Kyodo Aug. 9, 2014.
VOA News

In Japan, tens of thousands of people turned out on Saturday to mark the 69th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki.

Thousands of aging survivors, government officials and others attended a ceremony in the city's Peace Park. Delegates representing 51 other countries included U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy offers a wreath for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing in Nagasaki, in this Kyodo photo taken Aug. 9, 2014.U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy offers a wreath for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing in Nagasaki, in this Kyodo photo taken Aug. 9, 2014.
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U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy offers a wreath for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing in Nagasaki, in this Kyodo photo taken Aug. 9, 2014.
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy offers a wreath for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing in Nagasaki, in this Kyodo photo taken Aug. 9, 2014.

In remarks to the crowd, Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government to listen to the people and not abandon Japan's pacifist stance.

Attendees stood for a minute of silence at 11:02 a.m., marking the time Aug. 9, 1945, when the United States dropped a bomb on the city. It killed at least 70,000 people and, along with the bombing of Hiroshima three days earlier, brought about Japan's surrender and the end of World War II.  

Japan is divided over the government's decision to allow its military to defend foreign countries and to play greater roles overseas.

More than half the public opposes such a move, the Associated Press reported, citing opinion polls. Their aversion stems from witnessing the war's devastation, among other things.

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by: Ed Loyal from: Nashville TN
August 21, 2014 2:02 AM
This is not a huge moral dilemma. Japan made the decision that they had to expand and began invading other countries in the late 19th century. They became increasingly aggressive and ruthless, culminating in the bombing of the U.S. fleet. The Japanese govt is to blame for deaths of countless civilians, including their own people by their actions.

by: Suzu
August 11, 2014 7:11 AM
Thanks to the Allied Forces Japan was liberated from militarism. But I don't think Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is justifiable. Because Japan had lost power to fight against the Allied Forces. Hiroshima Massacre and Nagasaki Massacre are the crimes against humanity which should be condemned forever. Harry S. Truman made the worst decision in war history.

Destructive weapon should be handled by a clever leader. Armed forces should be handled by a a clever leader too.  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claims that right of collective self-defense is constitutional under pacifist constitution. Although Abe emphasized rule of law in Latin America, when it comes to a domestic defense strategy Abe is a destroyer of rule of law.

Actually Japanese pacifist constitution is out of date. The first step for Japan to be a normal country is to amend constitution. Destruction of rule of law is the dangerous step toward authoritarian regime.
In Response

by: Suzu
August 13, 2014 7:33 AM
I cannot help admiring VOA for allowing me to criticize US armed forces freely. This situation is completely unimaginable in Japan. Although we have freedom of speech in Japan, Japanese media ignore inconvenient opinions.
At the same time I want American people to face following Q and A.

QUESTION: Was the U.S. use of nuclear weapons resulting in the mass and indiscriminate killing of civilians in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki a violation of the same international law that you are referring to?
MS. HARF: I’m not even going to entertain that question, Arshad.

MS. HARF is a Deputy Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State under Obama administration.
In Response

by: Suzu
August 12, 2014 11:07 AM
No matter what plausible reasons there had been, the massacre of civilians is unacceptable and unlawful. There is no knowing what would have happened if the United States had avoided the atomic bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The atomic bombing is the worst precedent to order the massacre of civilians from military necessity. It may have lead to the numerous atrocities committed by the US armed forces after that. But a civilized and enlightened military should never kill civilians on purpose. Moreover the situation was completely different from the one when Great Britain stood with its back against the wall. America stood triumphant even before the atomic bombing. I want American people not to allow its military to violate rule of law in the battle field. It is very suggestive that Truman was a former member of KKK. Maybe he did not hesitate to kill Japanese civilians for the sake of American soldiers.
In Response

by: VeritasIndeed from: U.S. [Virginia}
August 12, 2014 1:15 AM
I think Japan should maintain its peace stance.
I would defer to Suzu for his view on the atomic bombing. However, considering the times, Japan would have fought any invasion with the diligence the troops displayed on island after island. There were two "parties" in the government at the time, and one wanted peace; the other to continue. Remember--there was a palace "uprising" (quickly put down) that tried to prevent Hirohito from proclaiming surrender.
Hirohito reluctantly decided to surrender and was able to declare that the "barbarian" weapon tilted the balance. Without that, the Japanese would have fought on--with the Allied invasion contributing to indescribable devastation on both sides! Yes, the nuclear bombing was a horror, but as Churchill remarked, it was a miracle of deliverance.
Do you recall how when Great Britain stood with its back against the wall, after the fall of France, and Germany stood triumphant, Churchill defiantly proclaimed, if invasion came, the English would fight on the land, fight in the hills--we (the English) will never surrender.
Is it any less believable that the Japanese would have done the same? Brutal as the atomic bombings were (and are), the fire bombing of cities across Japan by Gen. Lemay had a horror and a death toll as severe, if not more so.
Again, the "barbaric weapon" allowed the Emperor to tilt the decision to unconditional surrender.
A personal note: I was in the Philippines, U.S. army, 1945, (engineers), and we were slated to be part of invasion...Kyushu. Yes; we "celebrated" the atomic bombing and the end of the war although not too aware of the specific radiation effects at the time.
Subsequently we went as part of the occupation, landing ino Sasebo, then toward Fukuoka, and the small town of Zasshonokuma where we helped build an airfield on the site, I believe of what has been a Japanese airfield.
As for Pres. Truman's decision? If the invasion had gone on as expected (without the atomic bombing) and the resultant toll on American forces (not to mention the Japanese which would have been saturated with aerial bombings and naval off-shore gunnery) --how would any president could later justify the deaths of so many more Americans. And I think the Japanese would now be complaining that if the U.S. had the means for ending the war (the atomic bombings) why did the bloodthirsty Americans then kill so many more Japanese in the subsequent horror of invasion! Tsk.tsk

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 11, 2014 5:17 AM
I hope everyone around the world, especially the political leaders have a chance to attend the ceremony and visit memorial halls in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. I am sure they realize awful and terrible outcomes of atomic bombing. They must see Atomic bomb deterrence makes no sense because they actually understand atomic bombs are not to be set off. Nuclear disarmament should progress more rapidly. We Japanese should play more important roles in such activities.
In Response

by: yataro from: Japan
August 12, 2014 9:27 AM
I agree with you. Japan should play an important role, when it comes to global peace. To do so, I would say that we should not have any weapon and military to invade other country, they should be only for defend. So, I mean we should not change our constitution over self defense force.

by: Desmond
August 10, 2014 1:16 PM
It is right to commemorate the tragedy that befell the citizens who lost their lives at the expense of the military who advocated war. However neither should we forget those soldiers, airmen and naval
personnel of the UK and America who fought and also lost their lives in bringing to an end a terrible war, which was totally unnecessary.
In Response

by: Eduardo Linares-Batres from: Guatemala
August 10, 2014 5:57 PM
“Unnecessary” how? On the side of Western Civilization—which includes the U.S.—, the war and the nuclear bombings to end it were not only necessary but thoroughly moral. Had the Fascist, militarist countries of the Axis triumphed, their utilitarian view of ethics would have meant that the Japanese would have continued their massacring genocide in Asia, and the Nazis gone on with their own murderous proclivities in Europe.
The very existence of today’s Japan as a democratic and free society must be construed as proof enough of how “necessary” WW2 was, after the perfidious and cowardly attack on Pearl Harbor; naysayers within the West must learn not to externalize their self-hatred.

by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, Texas
August 10, 2014 7:37 AM
Natural or man-made - while any inferno strikes upon the peoples anywhere in this planet........ that's a part of a country, a country or a zone ........ the tolls that happen under such disastrous impacts...... the people who do perish; who do become the live casualties...... the human and the economic establishments that are stonkered upon....... rest of this world watch at a distance. During the WW II, while two nukes were dropped on the two Japanese cities- Hiroshima and Nagasaki..... the annihilation had happened. The dead ones do remain in their graves in the graveyards...... tolerating such catastrophic imacts, those who are alive today, they can describe something....... but the very ones they'd perished at the epicentre that nuclear strikes, their existence would have ceased to exist instantly..........Despite the instance of such horrors, world does have nuclear stockpiles that can wipe entire mankind out several times if all that do explode in a short interval of time........ And, we do commemorate the Hiroshima and Nagasaki days...... grieve over such n- catastrophs........ it's in our humane feelings....... Christ does know what' stored for mankind while awaiting a mega n-holocast..... a doomsday..... it' for the existing n' stockpiles.
In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 11, 2014 3:44 AM
I deeply agree with you. Including me, we should be more imaginable to the disaster nuclear weapons bring. Those who suffered atomic bombs also have responsibility to tell about their experience. Dissapoinyingly, it is the true that such speakers are expiring day by day in present Japan as they are getting older.

by: Eduardo Linares-Batres from: Guatemala
August 10, 2014 4:26 AM
If the Japanese are to ever heal the moral malaise that afflicts them as a nation, they must learn not to lie to themselves and the world. The onus in the commemoration of the Nagasaki bombing should be directed, not against the U.S.—since it saved millions of Americans and Japanese from death when the country would have had to be invaded to end the 2nd World War—, but against the criminal undertakings of their then-fascist government, which had Japan do the unprovoked and villainous attack against the U.S. in Pearl Harbor. “Sow winds, reap tempests.”
In Response

by: Suzu from: Japan
August 11, 2014 5:51 PM
Mr.Yoshi, If the Allied Forces had not fought against Nazi Germany, the world would have been conquired by Hitler. We should never repeat Chamberlain's appeasemnt policy which gave Nazi Germany a chance to expand their power. Unfortunately your naive pacifism is shared by many Japanese people. But actually there are political forces which cannot be removed without using military power.
In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 11, 2014 3:57 AM
You know, Eduardo, killing people is not justified just because your fellows are killed. Both sides are birds of a feather flocking together, are not they?

by: Paulo Lemos from: Brasil
August 09, 2014 4:14 PM
August 9,1945. The world will never forget this painful day. Its wounds are still opened. Nevertheless this has not been enough to teach us the war there are not winners, only losers!

by: muljibhai from: USA
August 09, 2014 3:15 PM
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by: Cranksy from: USA
August 09, 2014 1:28 PM
I wish this day and the day Hiroshima was bombed were remembered in my country. Then, maybe, America would be less inclined to use its military power and selectively accuse others of atrocities or war crimes.

I am glad the American Ambassador was there.
In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 11, 2014 4:31 AM
I hope American president will attend the ceremony and visit atomic bombing memorial halls some day. I have heard Obama are hoping to do so. I wonder how Franklin Roosevelt would have felt about atomic bombing if he had visited them and had met survivors. I wonder if he surely remained confident with his decision especially the second one for Nagasaki.
In Response

by: meanbill2 from: USA
August 09, 2014 4:01 PM
And that's also the day we remember those two events.
In Response

by: meanbill2 from: USA
August 09, 2014 3:59 PM
I agree with meanbill. It's sad that anyone had to die. Do you know why that happened? I recall something about December 7.

by: meanbill from: USA
August 09, 2014 10:30 AM
TRUTH BE TOLD.... I'd like to feel some sympathy for the little islanders of the rising sun, (that once was an empire), who's ancestors were killed by those US Atom bombs, (but), I still remember all the horrific atrocities, and massacres, committed by the little islanders ancestors on hundreds of millions of innocent people.... (I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm not)... I still feel sorry for their victims, who the little islanders still won't accept blame for...... REALLY
In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 11, 2014 4:51 AM
We mankind have been ignorant enough to kill each others even to nowadays. We all have some faults from the birth. So, we are the last person to judge and punish others. We should learn more to forgive and understand others. Then we will find ourselves in others and could live in peace instead of in hatred.
In Response

by: hawaiineko from: Hawaii
August 09, 2014 10:06 PM
http://www.staradvertiser.com/featurespremium/Navy_navigator_emerges_as_pacifist_after_witnessing_bombs_devastation.html?id=270574831 if you can click on the link, the article came out in our our local paper about someone who served in the US Navy during the bombing of Nagasaki, part of his comment was:
"Hanson, born and raised in California, said he got to know the Japanese people in the month his mine sweeper was stationed in a nearby district. "They showed us no animosity. I never found a Japanese person who was angry at us. They did not show fear of us. I think they were just glad the war was over," he said.

Living in Hawaii the past 27 years, he's gained even more respect for Japan's efforts to establish a peaceful relationship with the U.S., and as for the Japanese, "they're a class people," he added.

He's often thought, "Why in the world did the government decide to bomb those two cities? I think they could have accomplished the same thing by letting the bombs go off in remote areas just to show how powerful they were. Later on I read that even (Gen. Dwight D.) Eisenhower thought it was not necessary." (Eisenhower commanded all Allied forces in Europe.)"
so your comment about not accepting blame...you are wrong, the US and Japan both accepted their responsiblity in a war that was so wrong.
In Response

by: hawaiineko from: hawaii
August 09, 2014 8:19 PM
"little islanders" on hundreds of millions of innocent people...really hundreds of millions....the two atomic bombs that were dropped on the "little islanders" are still causing damage.... your name "meanbill" says it all.... and as part of my name says I am from Hawaii and my heart is saddened and my eyes tear up when I see the Arizona Memorial and my father fought in the Korean War and the Vietnam War ... and you know what he was born and raised in the USA but his parents were one of those little islanders from the Rising Sun and my mom is one of those little islanders as she was born from one of those islands of the rising sun...you just sound ignorant...and meanbill2 must be an offspring of even more ignorance

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