Japan has marked the 70th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima Thursday.
Peaceful protests were carried out to raise awareness about the catastrophic event.
Ceremonies were also conducted in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome, the only structure that wasn’t demolished in the explosion. Buddhist monks beat drums and prayed, and students participated in a “die-in” that symbolized the 140,000 people who were killed in the incident.
On August 6, 1945, an American B-29 bomber named Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb called Little Boy on Hiroshima, killing 140,000 people. Three days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki that killed another 70,000 people.
The atomic attack forced Japan’s surrender from the World War II, bringing the most gruesome war in history – that also saw the Holocaust, with over six million Jews killed by Nazis – to an end.
Mayor of Hiroshima, Kazumi Matsui, said that nuclear weapons are “the ultimate inhumanity and the absolute evil” and must be banned. Mayor Matsui also spoke against countries that house nuclear weapons for their national interests.
He called for Obama and leaders from the world to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“President Obama and other policymakers, please come to the A-bombed cities, hear the hibakusha (survivors) with your own ears, and encounter the reality of the atomic bombings,” he said. “Surely, you will be impelled to start discussing a legal framework, including a nuclear weapons convention.”
Other than tens of thousands who were killed, the atomic attack also left hundreds of thousands injured.
According to Sky News, Sir David Warren, former British Ambassador to Japan, said nation was still enduring the horrifying aftermath of the attacks.
“The effect of Hiroshima has been to embed pacifism into Japan,” he said.
“There is a bit more awareness today on the context of the bomb.
“Many people will have family members who have health problems still and undoubtedly it has infected the Japanese psyche permanently, embedding pacifism into Japan.”
According to Economic Times, the subject of whether the attacks were justified or not is still hugely contested. Some historians opine that the attacks were necessary as they prevented what could have been several more casualties in a planned land attack. However, critics say Japan was heading towards an impending defeat, and so the attacks should not have been executed.
According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 56 percent Americans said the attacks were justified, as opposed to 70 percent who said they were not.
Paul Tibbets was the pilot who flew the Enola Gay when it dropped Little Boy.
In an interview in 2002, he said, “I knew we did the right thing.”
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