Nagasaki: Signs of change

AP notes that Nagasaki marked the 62nd anniversary of the world's second atomic bomb attack Thursday with a somber ceremony and calls for the elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide:

The city was to observe a moment of silence at 11:02 a.m., when the B-29 bomber Bock's Car dropped its atomic payload, killing about 74,000. The attack on Nagasaki came three days after the U.S. bomber Enola Gay dropped a bomb on Hiroshima in the world's first atomic attack. That bombing killed at least 140,000.

The anniversary comes amid signs of change in Japan, the only country to suffer nuclear attacks, as memories of the tragedies fade and survivors become older. Some prominent Japanese politicians have suggested that Japan should at least discuss developing nuclear weapons, and former Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma recently said the U.S. nuclear bombings in 1945 may have been inevitable.

Kyuma's remarks were particularly upsetting to many Nagasaki residents because he is from the prefecture (state). He resigned under pressure in June and was not attending this year's memorial despite an invitation sent earlier, according to the city. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945, bringing World War II to an end.

Signs of change, yes. I am surprised that the AP story does not mention the election results last Sunday. Just today, Asahi has the big story that the Democratic Party of Japan seems set on ending the legislation that enabled Japanese troups to "support" the US and NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Reuters also has the story. The AP story in the Washington Post does not mention that. This is actually a time when it is very exciting to be living in Japan and Asia.

Mari has more about Nagasaki on her blog today, with links to the official Nagasaki website and more.


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