Follow Us:
Monday, July 23, 2018

Japan marks 70 years of Hiroshima bombing

People stood for a minute of silence at 8:30 a.m. at the ceremony in Hiroshima’s peace park near the epicenter of the 1945 attack.

Updated: August 6, 2015 12:23:52 pm

Japan marked the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Thursday, with Mayor Kazumi Matsui renewing calls for U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders to step up efforts toward making a nuclear weapons free world.

Hiroshima day, Hiroshima atomic bomb, Hiroshima bombing anniversary, Hiroshima anniversary, Hiroshima Nagasaki bombing, Japan news, World news Visitors pray for the atomic bomb victims in front of the cenotaph at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. Japan marked the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing on Hiroshima. (AP Photo/Koji Ueda)

Tens of thousands of attendants stood for a minute of silence at 8:30 a.m. at the ceremony in Hiroshima‘s peace park near the epicenter of the 1945 attack, marking the moment of the atomic blast. Then dozens of doves were released as a symbol of peace.

READ: Mission at Hiroshima’s dome: Saving blasted bits of history

WATCH VIDEO – People pay respects in Hiroshima on 70th anniversary of atomic bombing

The U.S. bomb, “Little Boy,” the first one used at war, killed 140,000 people, and a second bomb “Fat Man,” dropped over Nagasaki three days later, killed another 70,000, prompting Japan’s surrender in World War II.

FILE - In this Sept. 4, 1945 file photo, the remains of a factory are seen, upper left, in the southern Japanese city of Nagasaki, gutted by the Aug. 9 atomic bombing. On two days in August 1945, U.S. planes dropped two atomic bombs, one on Hiroshima, one on Nagasaki, the first and only time nuclear weapons have been used. Their destructive power was unprecedented, incinerating buildings and people, and leaving lifelong scars on survivors, not just physical but also psychological, and on the cities themselves. Days later, World War II was over. (AP Photo/File) FILE – In this Sept. 4, 1945 file photo, the remains of a factory are seen, upper left, in the southern Japanese city of Nagasaki, gutted by the Aug. 9 atomic bombing. (AP Photo/File)

Matsui called the nuclear weapons “the ultimate inhumanity and the absolute evil” that must be abolished, and criticized nuclear powers for keeping them as threats to achieve their national interests. He said the world still bristles with more than 15,000 nuclear weapons.

READ: This is what a nuclear attack on Indian, or Pakistani, cities will look like. And it is scary as hell

A woman grieves in front of the cenotaph at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan, early Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. Japan marked the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing on Hiroshima. (AP Photo/Koji Ueda) A woman grieves in front of the cenotaph at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan, early Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. Japan marked the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing on Hiroshima. (AP Photo/Koji Ueda)

He renewed an invitation to Obama and other world leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki to see the scars themselves.

“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.”

FILE - In this Aug. 8, 1945 file photo, the shell of a building stands amid acres of rubble in this view of the Japanese city of Hiroshima. On Aug. 6, 1945, a U.S. plane dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the first nuclear weapon has been used in war. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, ending World War II. (AP Photo/Mitsugi Kishida, File) FILE – In this Aug. 8, 1945 file photo, the shell of a building stands amid acres of rubble in this view of the Japanese city of Hiroshima. (AP Photo/Mitsugi Kishida, File)

WATCH VIDEO – Woman Recalls Surviving Hiroshima A-Bomb

The anniversary comes as Japan is divided over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to pass unpopular legislation to expand the country’s military role internationally, a year after his Cabinet’s decision to loosen Japan’s war-renouncing constitution by adopting a new interpretation of it.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe walks out from the venue after the ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the bombing at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe walks out from the venue after the ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the bombing at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

“We must establish a broad national security framework that does not rely on use of force but is based on trust,” Matsui said. He urged the Japanese government to stick with “the pacifism of the Japanese Constitution” to lead the global effort of no proliferation.

Doves fly over the cenotaph dedicated to the victims of the atomic bombing at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park during the ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the bombing in Hiroshima, western Japan Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) Doves fly over the cenotaph dedicated to the victims of the atomic bombing at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park during the ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the bombing in Hiroshima, western Japan Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Abe said that as the sole country to face a nuclear attack, Japan had a duty to push for the elimination of nuclear weapons. He pledged to promote the cause through international conferences to be held in Hiroshima later this month.

Atomic Bomb Dome is seen during the ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the bombing at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) Atomic Bomb Dome is seen during the ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the bombing at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

With the average age of survivors now exceeding 80 years for the first time this year, passing on their stories is considered an urgent task. There were 5,359 “hibakusha,” or survivors, who died over the past year, bringing the total death toll from the Hiroshima bombing to 297,684.

The anniversary comes as Japan is divided over Abe’s push to pass unpopular legislation to expand the country’s military role internationally.

Visitors pray for the atomic bomb victims at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. Japan marked the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing on Hiroshima. (AP Photo/Koji Ueda) Visitors pray for the atomic bomb victims at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. Japan marked the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing on Hiroshima. (AP Photo/Koji Ueda)

The sea of people who attended the ceremony this year also included U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and representatives from more than 100 countries, including Britain, France and Russia.

“Little Boy,” dropped from the Enola Gay, a B-29 bomber, destroyed 90 percent of the city and killed an estimated 140,000 people, including those who succumbed to injuries and radiation sickness in the ensuing weeks. A “black rain” of radioactive particles followed the blinding blast and fireball, and has been linked to higher rates of cancer and other radiation-related diseases among survivors.