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Japan. Hiroshima Survivors Protest: U.S. Deal Is An Affront

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The attack on Pearl Harbor and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima were not something we should forgive ourselves for, say organizations representing Japanese atomic survivors. In a joint letter, they oppose the conclusion of a new cooperation agreement between the memorial sites of these two tragic events.

On Thursday, US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel and Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui signed a cooperation agreement between the memorial sites of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and the US atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima. This agreement includes cooperation on youth education and “sharing experiences in restoring historical structures and landscapes”. During a joint press conference, representatives of the US and the Japanese city spoke of a “brotherly understanding” proving that “humanity is capable of pursuing peace”, reported the British “Guardian”.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel and Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui on June 29, 2023.PAP/EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON

Hiroshima Survivors Protest

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The deal, however, aroused controversy among many Japanese who survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Several of these organizations wrote a joint letter to the Hiroshima authorities asking Matsui to withdraw from the deal. They argue that the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima “were not something we should forgive ourselves for.” “They are the lessons of history that we should learn from so that they never happen again,” it added.

Haruko Moritaki, an adviser to the Hiroshima Association for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons who survived the 1945 attack, called the new deal an “insult” in an interview with the Japanese newspaper Chugoku Shimbun. As she emphasized, the “historical background” of the creation of both memorial sites “will always remain different”.

Kunihiko Sakuma, a representative of one organization representing people from Hiroshima prefecture affected by the atomic attack, further states that the dropping of an atomic bomb on a Japanese city was unnecessary. – It did not end the war and did not save the lives of American soldiers, as they claim United States – he estimates, quoted by “Nikkei Asia”. – It was clear that Japan would lose. We can’t just focus on the future until we address this fundamental issue.”

Nikkei Asia notes that the US ambassador to Japan was asked during a press conference on Thursday to respond to critical remarks that “the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was carried out on a military facility, while the bombing of Hiroshima claimed the lives of many civilians.” “Nothing I’ve done in my entire public life has ever been 100% approved,” he replied. However, he added that he hoped the new agreement would encourage more people to visit both memorials.

Peace Park in HiroshimaShanti Hesse/Shutterstock

SEE ALSO: Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor calls for nuclear disarmament

War in the Pacific

The attack on Pearl Harbor and the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima mark the two turning points of the Pacific War and World War II. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese air force attacked American ships at Pearl Harbor on the US island of Oahu without declaring war. In just two hours, 353 Japanese planes bombed an American port, sinking 18 ships and destroying or severely damaging more than 300 planes. 2.4 thousand died. Americans, and over a thousand were injured. The attack on Pearl Harbor caused the US to enter World War II.

In turn, on August 6, 1945, a batomic bomb – the first of two such bombs ever used in combat. The attack, according to the Americans, was to force Japan to surrender unconditionally. By the end of 1945, the explosion alone and the effects of radiation caused the death of about 140,000 Hiroshima residents, many of them children. On August 9, 1945, the US dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing about 70,000 people there. Six days later, Japan surrendered, marking the end of World War II.

Pearl Harbour

SEE ALSO: Change in Tokyo’s defense policy. Japan wants ‘counter-attack capability’

The Guardian, Nikkei Asia, tvn24.pl

Main photo source: Shanti Hesse/Shutterstock



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