Japan has marked the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki that claimed tens of thousands of lives in one of the final chapters of World War II.
Memorial services were held on Sunday in the now bustling port city, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US ambassador Caroline Kennedy in attendance.
Bells tolled as ageing survivors, the relatives of victims and others remembered the devastating blast at 11:02am local time (02:02 GMT) on August 9, 1945.
About 74,000 people died in the initial blast near a major arms factory from a plutonium bomb dubbed “Fat Man”, or from after-effects in the months and years following the bombing.
The attack on Nagasaki came three days after American B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped a bomb, dubbed “Little Boy”, on Hiroshima, the first atomic bombing in history.
Nearly everything around it was incinerated by a wall of heat up to 4,000 degrees Celsius – hot enough to melt steel.
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from Tokyo, said that Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue had used his speech at Sunday’s memorial service to warn against the government’s new security legislation.
Abe’s coalition last month approved controversial legislations in the lower house of parliament that would lift a ban on sending troops to fight abroad, despite much opposition from lawmakers and thousands protesting against it outside the parliament building.
Fawcett said Mayor Taue on Sunday had called on the government to ensure that “sincere and careful deliberation” took place before it proceeded with the laws.
About 140,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the Hiroshima attack, including those who survived the bombing itself but later died from radiation sickness.
|About 74,000 people died in the initial blast near a major arms factory, or from after-effects in the months and years following the bombing [The Associated Press]|
Gums bled, teeth fell out, hair came off in clumps; there were cancers, premature births, malformed babies and sudden deaths.
The twin bombings dealt the final blows to imperial Japan, which surrendered on August 15, 1945, bringing an end to World War II.
While some historians say that they prevented many more casualties in a planned land invasion, critics counter that the attacks were not necessary to end the war, arguing that Japan was already heading for imminent defeat.
At memorial ceremonies in Hiroshima on Thursday, Abe said Japan would submit a fresh resolution to abolish nuclear weapons at the UN General Assembly later this year.
“As the only country ever attacked by an atomic bomb… we have a mission to create a world without nuclear arms,” he told the crowd.
“We have been tasked with conveying the inhumanity of nuclear weapons, across generations and borders.”
This year’s memorials come days ahead of the scheduled restart of a nuclear reactor in southern Japan – the first one to go back on line after a two-year hiatus following the tsunami-sparked disaster at Fukushima in 2011.
Source: Al Jazeera And AFP
Seventy years after the first atom bomb was used in war, debate continues over its necessity and morality.
Japanese city marks the 70th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing that killed 140,000 people in 1945.