08/05/2015, 00.00
JAPAN
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An ecumenical prayer opens ten days for peace in Hiroshima

Catholic and Anglican bishops come together at the cathedral to remember the terrible events of 70 years ago. This opened a ten-day period dedicated to peace, which the Catholic Church holds every year to mark the end of the war. Representatives from more than 100 nations will meet on Sunday in Nagasaki for the annual commemoration.

 

Hiroshima (AsiaNews) – With a solemn and ecumenical prayer, Japan’s Catholic and Anglican bishops opened a ten-day period marking the anniversary of the end of World War 2.

After 70 years, more than a hundred nations will be represented at the anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively.

The United States will be represented by US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy. Initially, it was thought that US President Barack Obama could attend the ceremony.

Diplomats from nuclear powers Great Britain, Russia and France will also be present, and are expected to read a joint message against the nuclear weapons.

Nations like Indonesia too will be present. Jakarta's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Muhammad Anshor, said the horrific humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons witnessed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is “one of the main driving forces” behind Indonesia’s support for a total ban on nuclear weapons. “I hope governments and civil society continue to work together in striving for a world without nuclear weapons”.

Like every year, the City of Hiroshima will mark the event with the tolling of the Peace Bell. At the monument commemorating the victims, the mayor will add the names of survivors who have passed away since 6 August of last year.

Known as hibakusha (explosion-affected people), the surviving victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki carry the signs and live with the illnesses left by their experience. Among ordinary Japanese, they enjoy great respect. At present, they number around 190,000 and their average age is 79.44 years.

The bombs dropped on Hiroshima (6 August) and Nagasaki (9 August) killed about 140,000 people. According to the Allies, these two events hastened the end of World War II. By then, Japan was the last Axis power still fighting. On 2 September 1945, Japanese representatives signed the terms of unconditional surrender.

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