Saturday 3 December 2016

Nagasaki survivors mark 70th anniversary of atomic bombing

Independe

Published 09/08/2015 | 10:25

Catholics listen the preaching at an early morning mass to pay respect to the victims of the Nagasaki atomic bombing at the Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki, southern Japan Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Catholics listen the preaching at an early morning mass to pay respect to the victims of the Nagasaki atomic bombing at the Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki, southern Japan Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Sumiteru Taniguchi, 86, delivers a speech during a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing in Nagasaki, southern Japan Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015. (Kyodo Photo via AP)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe holds a wreath during a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bombing in Nagasaki, southern Japan Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Japanese Prime Miniser Shinzo Abe, left, and other government officials offer silent prayers at the 70th anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bombing, in Nagasaki, southern Japan, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
A woman (C) is surrounded by photographers as she prays for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing in front of the Peace Statue before a ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the bombing at Nagasaki's Peace Park in Nagasaki, western Japan, August 9, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Doves fly over the Statue of Peace during a ceremony at Nagasaki Peace Park in Nagasaki, southern Japan Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of the world's second atomic bomb attack. (Kyodo Photo via AP)
People offer silent prayers for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing, during a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the bombing of the city at Nagasaki's Peace Park in western Japan August 9, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Doves fly over the Peace Statue in Nagasaki's Peace Park during a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the bombing of the city, in Nagasaki, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo August 9, 2015. REUTERS/Kyodo

Survivors of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki gathered to mark its 70th anniversary.

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Survivors of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki gathered to mark its 70th anniversary.

Doves fly over the Peace Statue in Nagasaki's Peace Park during a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the bombing of the city, in Nagasaki, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo August 9, 2015. REUTERS/Kyodo
Doves fly over the Peace Statue in Nagasaki's Peace Park during a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the bombing of the city, in Nagasaki, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo August 9, 2015. REUTERS/Kyodo
Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue walks to deliver his speech during a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombing of the city at Nagasaki's Peace Park in Nagasaki, western Japan, August 9, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad (L) and his wife Siti Hasmah offer a flower wreath for the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing, during a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the bombing of the city at Nagasaki's Peace Park in Nagasaki, western Japan, August 9, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

They attended the annual commemoration in the southern Japanese city along with international guests and others.

They observed a moment of silence at 11.02am local time, which is when the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb, killing more than 70,000 people and prompting Japan's Second World World War surrender.

The first atomic bomb in Hiroshima three days earlier killed 140,000 people.

With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the audience, a representative of Nagasaki bomb survivors criticised security legislation introduced by the government, and warned it would lead to war.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombing of the city at Nagasaki's Peace Park in Nagasaki, western Japan, August 9, 2015.
REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombing of the city at Nagasaki's Peace Park in Nagasaki, western Japan, August 9, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
People offer silent prayers for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing, during a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the bombing of the city at Nagasaki's Peace Park in Nagasaki, western Japan, August 9, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller (C) attends a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombing of the Nagasaki at Nagasaki's Peace Park, western Japan, August 9, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

"We cannot accept this," 86-year-old Sumiteru Taniguchi said, after describing in graphic detail his traumatic injuries and how others died in the attack on Nagasaki.

Representatives from 75 countries, including US ambassador Caroline Kennedy, were among those gathered under a tall white canopy to shade them from the sun on a 31C (88F) morning at Nagasaki Peace Park.

Mr Abe's security bills, which he says are needed to increase Japan's deterrence capabilities in the face of growing threats in the region, have run into stiff public opposition.

The legislation would ease constitutional limits that restrict the military to self-defence, allowing Japanese forces to defend allies in limited circumstances.

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller (2nd L) and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy (R) attend a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombing of the city at Nagasaki's Peace Park in western Japan August 9, 2015.
REUTERS/Toru Hanai
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller (2nd L) and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy (R) attend a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombing of the city at Nagasaki's Peace Park in western Japan August 9, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Women pray for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing in front of the Peace Statue before a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the bombing at Nagasaki's Peace Park in Nagasaki, western Japan, August 9, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombing of the city, at Nagasaki's Peace Park in Nagasaki, western Japan, August 9, 2015. Abe on Sunday marked the 70th anniverary REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Nagasaki mayor Tomihisa Taue noted the "widespread unease" about the legislation, which has passed the lower house of parliament and is now before the upper house.

"I urge the government of Japan to listen to these voices of unease and concern," he said.

A message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon echoed calls by Mr Taue and others to abolish nuclear weapons.

"I wholeheartedly join you in sounding a global rallying cry: No more Nagasakis. No more Hiroshimas," Mr Ban said in a message read by Kim Won-soo, the acting UN high representative for disarmament affairs.

Mr Abe said that Japan, as the only country to experience nuclear attacks, would seek to play a leading role in realising a world without such weapons.

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