Hiroshima marks 75 years since the atomic bombing

The Japanese city was the target of the first atomic attack in history. The commemoration was scaled back due to the coronavirus emergency. For Archbishop Takami, the path to true peace requires the world to abolish nuclear weapons. For Pope Francis, the use of atomic weapons is “immoral”.

Hiroshima (AsiaNews) – Japan today commemorates the 75th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The Japanese city was the target of the first nuclear attack in history, carried out by a US B-29 Superfortress bomber Enola Gay at 8.15 am on 6 August 1945.

Three days later, the United States Air Force dropped a second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki. The double attack pushed the Japanese Empire to surrender, bringing an end to the Second World War.

This year the commemoration was scaled back because of the coronavirus outbreak. Aside from government officials and local authorities, only bombing survivors (Hibakusha), their families and a handful of foreign dignitaries took part in the public ceremony.

For Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, the catastrophe must serve as a warning to humanity. He called on “people across the world to work towards peace.”

At least 140,000 people died from the nuclear raid on Hiroshima, many of them instantly. Tens of thousands later perished as a result of devastating burns and radiation sickness.

The attack on Nagasaki caused 74,000 victims. “Of the 12,000 parishioners [who lived in the city], about 8,500 died from the bombing,” said Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki. He too is a Hibakusha since he was in his mother’s womb at the time.

In marking the Hiroshima bombing, inspired by the words of Pope Francis, Mgr Mitsuaki said that the path to true peace required the world to abolish nuclear weapons.

During his visit to Japan last year, the pontiff lashed out against the use of atomic weapons, which he considers “immoral”.

The Pope also launched an initiative in support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Approved by the United Nations Assembly in 2017, many states – especially the nuclear powers – have yet to ratify it.