Hiroshima honors A-bomb dead; protesters chant

Hiroshima’s dead remembered amid protest chants from Fukushima.

 

HIROSHIMA — Inside Hiroshima’s Peace Park, tens of thousands of survivors, relatives, government officials and diplomats observed the 67th anniversary Monday of the city’s atomic bombing, while just outside others marked the occasion by loudly protesting the decision to reactivate two nuclear reactors.

About 50,000 people, including Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba and the heads of the Lower and Upper houses, Takahiro Yokomichi and Kenji Hirata, took part in the annual Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, organizers said.

Noda told those on hand that the calamity 67 years ago must never be forgotten and vowed Japan would act to ensure a nuclear-free world.

“We must never forget the horrors of nuclear weapons and we must never repeat this tragedy that has been engraved into the history of mankind,” Noda told the crowd. “As the only country to be victimized by an atomic bomb and experiencing its ravages, we have the noble responsibility to the human race and the future of the Earth to pass on the memories of this tragedy to the next generation.”

Referring to the March 11 disasters and the meltdown crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Noda also promised to try to reduce the nation’s reliance on atomic energy.

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said the victims of the March 11 disasters reminded him of the hibakusha in Hiroshima 67 years ago. The mayor also urged the government to promote a safe energy policy and to play a leading role in the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Among the overseas visitors was Clifton Truman Daniel, the oldest grandson of former U.S. President Harry Truman, who ordered the Aug. 6 bombing, and Ari Beser, the grandson of Jacob Beser, the only military officer to participate in the atomic bombings of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki

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