Hiroshima prepares to mourn atomic bomb anniversary

20:10, August 05, 2010      

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Japan's Hiroshima is prepared to mourn the 65th atomic bomb anniversary which falls on Friday, hoping this year's ceremony will send a strong message of calling for a nuclear weapon free world.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon arrived in Hiroshima on Thursday afternoon after visiting for the first time the city of Nagasaki, the second city the United States dropped an atomic bomb during World War II.

Ban will become the first U.N. chief to attend the annual ceremony in Hiroshima. The symbolic visit is accompanied by representatives from over 70 states, including U.S. Ambassador to Japan, John Roos, who will be the first U.S. representative to do so, as well as French and British ambassadors.

In Hiroshima Castle, volunteers are showing visitors the relics of a construction which was destroyed in the atomic bombing.

A photo exhibition is being held to illustrate how the castle and the surrounding areas changed dramatically after the most horrifying disaster in human history.

Kazuko Yamane was only two years old at the time of the bombing. Lucky as she is, she suffered no post-atomic bomb syndromes and is still healthy at the age of 67. After retirement seven years ago, she became a volunteer to pass her post-war memories on to people who visit the city.

"My five-year-old brother died in the bombing. My mother told me that if she had a saw, she could have saved him from the debris. " said Yamane.

"We don't hate the Americans. What we want to emphasize is not the past, we hope to show the world how Hiroshima is now. We should join our efforts in building a peaceful nuclear weapon free world," she told Xinhua.

"The memory of Hiroshima is fading. Two thirds of Japanese people were born after 1945. Less and less school children are able to tell the exact date of the bombing... I think it is a very good thing to have the U.N Secretary General and representatives from other nuclear powers to attend the ceremony," said Georges Baumgartner, a veteran journalist and President of Foreign Correspondent Club of Japan.

A nuclear bomb was detonated over Hiroshima at an altitude of some 600 meters at the end of World War II, killing an estimated 140,000 people in 1945. A second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945 and Japan surrendered six days later.

Source: Xinhua


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