Archive for Monday, August 7, 2006

Japan marks 61st anniversary of Hiroshima bombing

August 7, 2006


— The mayor of Hiroshima on Sunday called for the elimination of all nuclear weapons as he marked the 61st anniversary of the world's first atomic bomb attack, which killed more than 140,000 people in the Japanese city.

Expressing concerns over the global proliferation of nuclear weapons, Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba urged the government of Japan - the only nation to suffer atomic bomb attacks - to take a leading role in the effort to eliminate nuclear arsenals.

"Sixty-one years have passed since radiation, heat rays and an atomic blast created hell on earth," Akiba said in a speech at Hiroshima Peace Park, near the bomb's epicenter. "But the number of nations enamored of evil and enslaved by nuclear arms has increased. The only role nuclear weapons have is to be demolished."

A bell rang at 8:15 a.m., marking the time when the American B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped its deadly payload on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. It was the first atomic bomb ever used in war.

Doves fly by the Atomic Bomb Dome on Sunday during the ceremony to mark the 61st anniversary of the world's first atomic bombing at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan.

Doves fly by the Atomic Bomb Dome on Sunday during the ceremony to mark the 61st anniversary of the world's first atomic bombing at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan.

About 45,000 survivors, residents, visitors and officials from around the world prayed for the bombing victims by observing a minute of silence in Hiroshima, 430 miles southwest of Tokyo. Hundreds of doves were released afterward.

An estimated 140,000 people were killed instantly or died within a few months after the bombing. Three days later, another U.S. warplane dropped a plutonium bomb on the city of Nagasaki, killing about 80,000 people.

This year's anniversary comes amid concerns over North Korea's recent missile tests, Iran's suspect nuclear program and intensified fighting in the Middle East.

Akiba urged Japan, a participant in the stalled six-nation talks on North Korea, to "forcefully insist that nuclear arms-possessing nations fulfill their obligation to sincerely carry out negotiations aimed at nuclear disarmament."

He also urged the government to observe Japan's pacifist constitution, which bars the use of force in international disputes and prohibits Tokyo from keeping a military for warfare. It was drafted by U.S. occupation forces after World War II and has not been changed since 1947.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's ruling party is proposing constitutional changes to make it easier for the Japanese military to fight if it comes under attack and to participate in international peacekeeping.

"We will observe the pacifist clause of the constitution, maintain the principle of nuclear nonproliferation and lead international efforts to achieve lasting global peace," Koizumi said Sunday in a memorial speech.

Ceremonies will also be held on Wednesday's anniversary of the Nagasaki attack.


jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

Speculation never makes for ceremony. You might as well hold a daily vigil for all the people in America NOT killed by gunfire last night.

"The firebombongs of Dresden and Hamburg actually killed and maimed more people that did the two atomic bombings combined but this fact is ignored by the "pacifists" and apologists, largely because those civilian bombings were conducted by the Allies."

I think it's more likely that the difference in public interest in those bombings is the different nature of the dissemination of info. Both of those, from what I've read, were quietly carried out, and not publicized to the public. By contrast, the atom bomb was, by and large, a PR operation. "This is what we have, back the F--- down!" That was supposed to carry around the world, so many, many more people are aware of it. Not to mention the fact that the conventional bombing of the two German cities used millions of little bombs, whereas the japanese bombings used one BIG bomb. And if there's anything consistent about America, it's that we appreciate more the concept of ONE BIG over many little.

jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

Well, thanks for trying to make me sound un-informed, and then pretty much rephrasing everything that I said, Marion.

Consider that something can be both "sadly necessary" and a PR move at the same time.

I don't recall saying speculation was not legitimate, just that it never makes for ceremony. At least not good ones.

When you consider our track record on history and education, at least currently, do you find it difficult to believe that two conventional weapons bombings are largely unheard of, whereas the nuclear technology that was brand new and very BIG and exciting, and thrown intentionally into the public sphere to spark a reaction, is thus much more famous?


"I think the real factor is that those two bombings used conventional weapons while the atomic bombings marked the first use of a very new and little understood weapon."

Huh, that's almost the same thing as you said. . .


"By contrast, the atom bomb was, by and large, a PR operation. "This is what we have, back the F--- down!" That was supposed to carry around the world, so many, many more people are aware of it. Not to mention the fact that the conventional bombing of the two German cities used millions of little bombs, whereas the japanese bombings used one BIG bomb. And if there's anything consistent about America, it's that we appreciate more the concept of ONE BIG over many little."

Wow! It's like we're saying the same things here, except that I'm choosing not to blame pacifists.

jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

Still, though, why the 61st aniversary? If you want it to retain meaning, every decade is probably just about right.

By the way, Japan was less barbarically aggressive as it was manifest-destiny imperialistic, and it largely viewed the USA as a threat to it because of our gunboat diplomacy in forcing it to resume trade with us 60 years prior, and, of course, our growing industrialized power and size. Not to say that their treatment of their foes, serfs, and prisoners of war were good or proper, because they certainly were not, and the way the war ended was certainly the best of the alternatives.

jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

Wow, enforcer, what a downer of an article. Well, luckily, I'm already learning Japanese, and plan on learning Mandarin over the next couple years.

I suppose our govt. COULD learn to balance it's budget and cut down on it's expenses. . . .!DVVc3BQngJWKnPfyYMVrtJAg50tdPw1PmrCmko9a4ztr14yCHkMIFIVETjPxHfI4YUwIYCnfiSzg06rd2i3SCzxYAcM8W/vash%20laughing.gif?dc=4675401830455813961

We're doomed.

bjamnjm 11 years, 7 months ago

Thank you Enforcer, I already forwarded that link to some friends. The A bombs were dropped to end the war with Japan and to make the Soviet Union aware that they'd better not move on Japan. We were barely allies with the Soviets in WWII. One reason we invaded Europe was so there'd be an army to stop the Soviets from taking all of Europe after Germany was defeated. Those atomic bombs were the salvation of hundreds upon thousands of our soldiers who were sure to die in an invasion of the Japanese main islands. Those soldiers rejoiced and celebrated when the atomic bombs were dropped b/c it meant they got to live. If anyone has the chance, ask a WWII vet. who fought in the Pacific what they think of the atomic bombing of Japan. I regret the bombings took place, however, I believe it was necessary.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 7 months ago

"Japan was already defeated and dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe and future president of the United States.

"The Japanese position was hopeless even before the first atomic bomb fell because the Japanese had lost control of their own air." -- Henry H. Arnold, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Forces

"The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan." --Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet

"The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender." -- Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman

jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

Seriously, though, if we hadn't dropped the A-Bomb on Japan, would Akira have even been made? What a lesser world that would be; the face of modern Anime could be totally different today! Surely that was worth the lives of some 150,000 nihonjin, ne?

badger 11 years, 7 months ago

bozo -

Don't you be confusing the issue with a bunch of whining from those milksop pacifists.

Everyone knows Eisenhower was pretty ignorant on military issues and just parroted what he heard on NPR.

jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

What's a nansai? Never heard that one.

jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

conservativeman: I don't recall where I claimed the japanese were pleasant, as they weren't. I merely said that the japanese were highly civilized people, who viewed themselves as the true descendents of the gods, with an emperor who was the son of heaven, and thus they were inately superior to everyone around them, and thus fit to rule and/or enslave the rest of Asia, and then vie for an elite position in the greater world order, in direct competition with the great countries in the west. That was what I meant about manifest destiny, and if that was thought of to be considered smurfish, then I guess we in the USA were awfully smurfish as well as we pushed westward, capturing and killing the indiginent inhabitants of North America that we felt we were superior to in order to take their land. How cute!

jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

bialystocknbloom: To ask someone's age is "Ikutsu desu ka?" ááá¤á§ááá

shi'tsumon o kotaeru: nijuuhassai.áä°åå»æ-³

Sorry about the apostraphe, but the the first part was caught by the obscenity filter due to the letter structure. Haha.

ranger73 11 years, 7 months ago

enforcer-you are right-and the us didn't do any of that to any of the native americans who already populated this country, nor did/does the us do anything like that since wwII in korea, vietnam, iraq or iran

and now before you start flying off the deep end and telling me to go move there if i don't like it-i am probably more conservative and a flag waver than ronald reagan-but before you start saying any culture is barbaric-you had better start looking at your own culture first

don't forget, conservativeman/enforcer-this great country rounded up hundreds of thousands of japanese and put them in "relocation camps" supposedly for their own good-same way 100 years before they rounded up native americans and moved them thousands of miles to reservations "for their own good" under the guise of manifest destiny.

find that in those great history books boys and girls...

jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

conservativeman: If you can explain how any of that is in any way different from the way we treated the Native Americans, I'm all ears. Both happened, both were instances of people using "divine right" to rape and pillage across already settled terrain (just by someone else) and abuse, missuse and kill them in order to take over their land and rule. Thankfully, both are in the past, and the respective societies have moved to a better place.

You're right, there is one difference. Japan was unable to utterly destroy the larger social structure of their "adversary" due to the different social circumstances of the time of their associated conquering and genocides, and in failing was doomed to be referred to as horrible acts, as opposed to "the taking of the West."

Enforcer: What in God's name are you talking about? None of that was even sensical, much less factual. Do you have specific products that you are referencing, or are you just making things up in your head. Japanese products that are exported here (largely electronics and cars) work much BETTER than American products. The rest of that was an interesting tinfoil hat conspiracy theory, though.

jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

Enforcer: Heh, I was reading your post history to gain some insight on the probability of whether you've been trolling, as I suspect, or you really mean what you've been saying, and I stumbled upon this.

Posted on August 4 at 10:39 a.m.

I do not think the parenting of josh's mom is relevant to the issue, why do posters make personal attacks because someone disagrees?

On Judge declares a mistrial in murder case

Posted on August 4 at 10:30 a.m.

That's an interesting quote, in context of your last remark. At any rate, at least you are willing to admit that you're prejudices are based out of ignorance.

Sigmund 11 years, 7 months ago

The Japanese MAY have EVENTUALLY accepted unconditional surrender without the use of atomic weapons and the US certainly could have eventually defeated them with conventional forces. But it is uncertain how much longer the American people would have supported the war in the pacific with continual loss of American soldiers. The use of atomic weapons forced the japanese political AND military leadership to surrender unconditionally something they were unwilling to do prior to their use.

Japanese civilian leaders who favored surrender saw increased leverage in the atomic bombing. The Japanese military refused to give up, as were the military men in the war cabinet. The cabinet functioned by consensus, even one holdout could prevent it from accepting surrender.

There are a couple of lessons for todays world. First, the japanese had better get the bomb (and we had better be prepared to sell it to them) if they want to deal with a nuclear Ill in North Korea. Yes I know the japanese constitution currently forbids it. But it had better happen and soon, unless of course you want the US to fight North Korea on behalf of the japanese in the near future.

Second, when the US goes to war we need to be willing to accept that many American soldiers are going to die and that enemy soldiers and civilians, and lots of them, are going to be killed. That is the terms our enemies are willing to fight us on and they are increasingly willing to bet that the US population will not accept those terms. While the US will win many battles we will never win a future war if we don't fight wars on those terms. If we are unwilling to win a war we had better not fight them in the first place.

jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

Wow, I have to spell out everything, don't I?

"why do posters make personal attacks because someone disagrees?"

badger 11 years, 7 months ago

It's OK, bnb.

Harry Truman probably told him personally that it was all right. Cause, you know, they discussed foreign policy and all.

See, one day, Harry Truman was trying to decide whether to drop the bomb or not. He tried to flip a coin, but it landed on its edge, so he called up Marion for advice. Marion said, "Let's bomb them and then drive around in my obscure rare automobile and look at all the guns I'm an expert shooter with!" And Harry said, "Yeah, Marion! Let's! You should bring your dog, and then we can write all about it on River City Talk!"

jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

75x55: That sure is a whole lot of ifs.

Why does anyone think that they know how the past absolutely would have gone if certain things had or had not happened?

Still, though, it's a good thing we're arguing about this, because I'm sure if we reach a consensus, we can make it so the bombs didn't detonate.

badger 11 years, 7 months ago

I've always wondered if the use of atomic weapons in Japan didn't have a certain value because they've provided us a persistent reminder of the consequences of using one since.

At the end of WWII, we had the bomb in a usable form, and so we used it. There wasn't a fear of nuclear retaliation, because we were pretty darn sure no one else had the bomb in a usable form. Aside from whether or not a land invasion would have killed more people, aside from whether we were posturing for the Soviets, there's the plain fact that Hiroshima and Nagasaki remained an object lesson of what an atomic bomb could do, a reason to never ever use one again.

During the horrible buildup years of the Cold War, the strongest argument for nonproliferation revolved around an awareness of what an atomic bomb could do. Without that awareness, without that object lesson, I'm not sure that the aversion to their use would have developed as it did. Imagine if, when a world leader thought about whether or not to use an atomic weapon, he didn't have that visual of silhouettes flash-burned into concrete or the cancer rates among survivors to add to his considerations - what if the decisions about whether or not to engage in nuclear warfare was being made in 1967 with only theoretical estimations of the human effects and long-term fallout?

Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as horrific as they were, provided us a very real and persistent physical reminder of the consequences of nuclear weapons. I'm not fully certain that without that reminder we'd have had the necessary horror of the consequences that has kept us from using them since.

I'm not at all saying that any of this was considered as a reason for dropping the bombs, but rather that in retrospect it is an effect that should be considered when judging how that decision affected the world.

jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

"Ask a liberal what the prhase "Deutschland Uber Alles!" in the German national anthem refers to.

Virtually 100% will give you the WRONG answer!"

Why just a liberal? Why not, well, virtually anybody? Why do you always insist on liberals being any different, by and by, from virtually anyone else? Is it just because, in your colorful, somewhat distorted world, political inclination has been somehow magnified to become the most important factor in someone's makeup?

Man, what a hell world that would be!

jonas 11 years, 7 months ago

Wow, Marion that was really. . . not clever. Haha, I tricked you by playing on a subset of the population that is referred to as one particular name brand, then try to divert attention by saying that the popular name is not truly reflective of the actual definition of either the people or the word itself. All this would be so interesting if the labels themselves had not at some point in the last few decades taken on a life of their own in which usage of them DOES, in fact, bring up the particular subset of people that I was just talking about that don't fit the particular literal definition in the first place! heeheehee.

As for the question, I don't speak German. As most of the population does not, which was the point that you tried to obscure by being not clever. Shall I converse with you in Spanish, or perhaps Japanese?

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