08/06/2007, 00.00
JAPAN
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Hiroshima, 62 years ago the atomic bomb

The Japanese city commemorates the victims of the US bomb; the mayor “against” Washington which has failed to stop proliferation. Following his recent electoral defeat Premier Abe meets survivors and promises greater health assistance. In three days time the anniversary of Nagasaki.

Hiroshima (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Tens of thousands of elderly survivors, children and dignitaries gathered at the Peace Memorial Park, to remember the more than 250,000 people who ultimately died on the 62nd anniversary of the blast. During the ceremony Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, singled out the United States for “failing to halt nuclear proliferation”.

In the Peace Memorial Park, close to ground zero of the blast, participants held a minutes silence at 8.05 local time when the B-29 Enola Gay bomber dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, August 6th 1945. On that day 140 thousand people died.  Only three days later another American plane launched a plutonium bomb on Nagasaki killing a further 80 thousand.  Six days later Japan declared defeat.

Yesterday during a meeting with 7 groups of Hiroshima survivors, Premier Shinzo said repeatedly that Japan would stick to its self-imposed "three non-nuclear principles" banning the possession, production and import of nuclear arms, denying that the government would even debate a change in that stance. His declaration followed outrage over remarks by Japan's former defence minister Fumio Kyuma that had appeared to condone the bombings; Abe apologized on Sunday to survivors in Hiroshima over the comments and promised to review the government's tough standards for determining whether atomic bomb victims suffer from radiation disease, the subject of a series of lawsuits by victims. The initiative was applauded by all.  Yet a portion of public opinion and some analysts judge the move “lacking in sincerity” and “without concrete guidelines”, seeing it as a means to regaining consensus following his party’s poor performance in Upper House elections.

The total number of Hiroshima victims recognised by the government is 253,008.

 

 

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