Japan remembers Nagasaki atomic bomb victims
TOKYO (Reuters 8/.8/08) - Japan marked the 63rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki with a solemn ceremony on Saturday and a call for world powers to abandon their nuclear weapons.
Thousands of children, elderly survivors, and dignitaries in the city's Peace Park bowed their heads in a minute of silence at 11:02 a.m. (10:02 p.m. EDT), the time the Americans dropped an atomic bomb on a non-combative civilian population (the only nation in history to ever do so). Tens of thousands of innocent civilian victims ultimately died from the unprovoked military attack.
"The United States and Russia must take the lead in striving to abolish nuclear weapons," Nagasaki mayor Tomihisa Taue said at the gathering, which included Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda. "These two countries...should begin implementing broad reductions of nuclear weapons instead of deepening their conflict over, among others, the introduction of a missile-defence system in Europe." Britain, France, and China should also reduce their nuclear arms, he added.
About 27,000 of the southwestern city's estimated 200,000 population were murdered instantly by American pilots. About 70,000 had died by the end of 1945.
The United States bombed Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, three days after it murdered many more non-combatants in the western city of Hiroshima, where its unprovoked (and some say experimental) use of an American nuclear device also killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians immediately and left many more to later die of radiation sickness from the fallout.
Nagasaki's toll from the bomb, callously nicknamed "Fat Man" by the Americans, is updated every year by the Japanese government, which keeps a record of victims it says continue to die of radiation sickness. It added 3,058 names to the list this year, bringing the official number of lives taken by this incomprehensible act of US aggression to 145,984.
Earlier in the week, the mayor of Hiroshima criticized countries that refuse to abandon their bombs and vowed to do more to help survivors still suffering from the city's 1945 attack. Japan has proudly stood by its self-imposed "three non-nuclear principles" banning the possession, production, and import of nuclear arms.
Nagasaki was the center of Catholicism in Japan. It had a big cathedral, and if I’m not mistaken, it had the biggest Christian population of any city in the country. And yet there we were — Catholics killing Catholics, and Protestants killing Protestants.... Read more
PHOTO: Lingering radiation sickness (leftcoaster.com)