It has been 70 years since the United States military dropped the first (and second) ever atomic bomb on the two Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Working in collaboration with the United Kingdom, Canada and their respective projects, Tube Alloys and Chalk River Laboratories, the Manhattan Project under the direction of the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Allies designed and built the first atomic bombs.
The Enola Gay aircraft dropped the first atomic bomb code named “Little Boy” on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The second bomb, code named “Fat Man,” was also dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, three days after the Hiroshima bombing.
According to statistics after the devastating bombing, it is said between 129,000 to 246,000 people were killed from the two cities. Many were left injured and many continue to suffer from genetics related diseases.
On this years’ Remembrance Day, tens of thousands from Japan and across the globe gathered in Hiroshima to honor the lives of those killed and wounded. A bell rang in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park where the crowd had gathered. The crowd bowed, holding a moment of silence at 8:15 AM to mark the exact time the bomb was dropped in Hiroshima.
Many who took part in the sad and emotional ceremony urged world leaders to abolish nuclear weapons once and for all on the earth.
“To coexist we must abolish the absolute evil and ultimate inhumanity that are nuclear weapons. Now is the time to start taking action,” Hiroshima’s Mayor, Kazumi Matsui, said in a speech at the ceremony.
“The horror of these bombings should be taken as a warning of the threats of nuclear weapons, but instead, the government is locking Japan into a nuclear future. Whether for military or civil purposes, nuclear energy is never peaceful. It carries the threat of nuclear weapons development, and as the 2011 Fukushima disaster demonstrated to the world, nuclear energy is neither safe, nor clean,” Greenpeace Japan Executive Director, Junichi Sato said in a statement.
Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, who has advocated a nuclear power restart over majority public opposition after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in the country, also called for the nuclear disarmament.
But a survivor of the bombing, 86-year-old Yukio Yoshioka said PM Abe is just bringing another disaster with his support for nuclear power. Yoshioka was quoted by the Common Dreams as saying, “These bills will bring the tragedy of war to our nation once again. They must be withdrawn.”
Back in the US, many have said the country should embrace disarmament and reverse its ongoing nuclear buildup. Anti-nuclear campaigners held rallies, marches, and direct actions at nuclear weapons complexes across the country.
Rallies were held from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, to the Kansas City Plant in Missouri. The coordinated protests against nuclear weapons were said to have been led by atom bomb survivors, scientists, health providers and faith communities, all demanding disarmament.
Meanwhile, according to the latest findings from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released in June, the US has a total of 7,260 nuclear war heads, which is more than any of the nine known nuclear weapons states such as Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.
SIPRI said the US and Russia are pursuing, “extensive and expensive long-term modernization programs under way for their remaining nuclear delivery systems, warheads and production,” adding that all other nuclear states, “are either developing or deploying new nuclear weapon systems or have announced their intention to do so.”
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