Conflicts & War

Hiroshima tragedy remembered with view to G7, Ukraine war

By Edurne Morillo

Hiroshima , Japan, Aug 5 (EFE).- Seventy-seven years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, this city in western Japan seeks to transfer its tragic history to a new generation of world leaders amid concern about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the escalation of tensions in Asia.

Hiroshima, the first city to be bombed with nuclear weapons on Aug. 6, 1945, will host the G7 meeting in May, from where it seeks to convey a message of peace and against nuclear weapons, before global leaders.

“The members of the G7 will come to Hiroshima for a very important meeting after the Russian aggression in Ukraine, so we hope that what happened here will have a great impact on the minds of these leaders,” Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said during a tour with foreign press organized by Japan’s foreign ministry for the tragedy’s anniversary.

In 2016, Barack Obama, persuaded by then-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was the first American president to travel to the city targeted by the United States bombing. Current Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida now seeks to repeat the occasion with US President Joe Biden.

Kishida said in June that the summit of leaders of the group of seven next year will be held in this city on May 19 and May 21, with which he intends to send a message “so that the horrors of nuclear weapons are never repeated,” he said.

Matsui said the city is also an example of why Japan should not have nuclear weapons, after several Japanese political factions suggested using them in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February and the growing threat from North Korea.

“In Hiroshima, someone somewhere decided to use the bomb without thinking about the consequences, so I wonder if whoever is suggesting this for Japan understands them,” the mayor said. “Speaking from our experience, we want to send a strong message to abolish nuclear weapons.”

“Hibakushas” – atomic bomb survivors – are also concerned about the world situation people. They are now aged at least 77 and have been dying in recent decades from the secondary effects of radiation or natural causes.

“I sympathize with what is happening in Ukraine, as it is always women and children who are the most affected and I don’t want to see anyone go through what we went through. I can only describe it as hell,” said Yoshiko Kajimoto, 91, a survivor who was 2.3 kilometers from the hypocenter of the explosion.

Kajimoto said how she managed to flee the building she was in that day by crawling through the rubble with a friend, and how she later spent three days without eating or drinking, carrying the bodies of friends and acquaintances.

As the nature of the bomb and the effects of the radiation were unknown at the time, her father spent days near the hypocenter helping to move corpses and died months later. Kajimoto herself suffered from cancer years later, possibly related to the radiation, according to her doctors.

“We were carrying a friend in our arms, the sky was completely red and all we could do was cry,” said the survivor, who added that “there are no wars to achieve justice” and that her wish is that “nuclear weapons disappear off the planet.”

The Enola Gay was the plane that dropped the first nuclear bomb called “Little Boy,” used in real combat on the city, precipitating the surrender of Japan and the end of World War II.

This bomb immediately ended the lives of some 80,000 people, about 30 percent of the city’s population at the time. At the end of 1945, the balance rose to about 140,000 and in subsequent years, victims due to the effects of radiation more than doubled. EFE


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