Atomic bombing on Nagasaki, Japan. August 9th marked the 66th anniversary of the U.S. dropping an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Just 3 days earlier, the U.S. had dropped one on Hiroshima. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.
In Nagasaki about 80,000 people were killed, and about 140,000 died in Hiroshima. As in past years, a bell rang out in a prayer for peace and bomb victims who were children during the attack sang a Japanese song called “Never Again.” U.S. Charge d’Affaires James P. Zumwalt, the first American representative to visit the Nagasaki memorial, said in a statement that President Barack Obama hoped to work with Japan toward his goal “of realizing a world without nuclear weapons.” A commitment Japan has made repeatedly since the war.
Japan now faces another threat from radiation 66 years later stemming from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station meltdown caused by the massive earthquake that hit in March. ‘How has it come that we are threatened once again by the fear of radiation?’ Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue asked. ‘Have we lost our awe of nature? Have we become overconfident in the control we wield as human beings? Have we turned away from our responsibility for the future?’
“Why must this nation that has so long fought for bomb victims once again live in fear of radiation?” Taue said. “The time has come to thoroughly talk about what kind of society we want and make a choice.”
Six days after the detonation over Nagasaki, on August 15, Japan announced its surrender to the Allied Powers, signing the Instrument of Surrender on September 2, officially ending the Pacific War and therefore World War II. Germany had signed its Instrument of Surrender on May 7, ending the war in Europe. The bombings led, in part, to post-war Japan’s adopting Three Non-Nuclear Principles, forbidding the nation from nuclear armament. The role of the bombings in Japan’s surrender and the U.S.’s ethical justification for them, as well as their strategic importance, is still debated.By: Bill Waters
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