- Title: FILE: 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF FIRST ATOMIC BOMB BEING DROPPED ON HIROSHIMA
- Date: 1st August 1945
- Summary: (W2) TINIAN ISLAND (FILE- 1945) (REUTERS) (PART MONOCHROME) BOMBER ENOLA GAY WITH CREW BOMB LOADED (2 SHOTS) PLANE TAXING BIKINI ATOLL EXPLOSION, AS SEEN FROM THE AIR (W3)HIROSHIMA, JAPAN (FILE - 1945) (REUTERS) ++BLACK AND WHITE - PART MUTE++ VARIOUS OF DEVASTATED CITY (8 SHOTS) VARIOUS OF INJURED BEING TREATED (4 SHOTS)
- Embargoed: 16th August 1945 13:00
- Location: HIROSHIMA, TOKYO AND NAGASAKI JAPAN/AT SEA/UNKNOWN LOCATIONS
- Country: Japan At Sea
- Topics: History
- Reuters ID: LVAEBCLLBW6KW2FYZLMCJNRE1LGF
- Story Text: August 6 marks 60th anniversary of dropping of first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Sixty years after the atom bomb killed tens of thousands in a blinding flash and devasted the western Japanese city of Hiroshima, survivors of the world's first atomic bombing are vowing to keep the city a bastion of pacifism.
Toshiyuki (Pronounced TOH-SHEE-YOO-KEE) Okamoto (OH-KAH-MOH-TOH), 78, is one of the lucky few citizens of Hiroshima who was not in the city on August 6, 1945, when the bomb was dropped. But the memories of what he saw when he returned a few days later have haunted him throughout his life.
His hometown was a pile of smouldering rubble. Bodies of human beings were being raked up with pickaxes and cremated. Charred remains of people's lives, such as those now exhibited in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, were scattered around the razed city.
So horrible and painful were the sights, Okamoto rarely talked about them -- until he retired and was convinced by his granddaughter to tell his story to visitors to Hiroshima's peace museum.
"I actually hate having to recount these experiences to children because I get overwhelmed. But we have to tell them what happened now. I don't want to see the memories of what I saw, what I experienced fade. Actually my fifth grade (elementary school) grandchild introduced me to this job but its still painful," said Okamoto who is now a volunteer guide at the museum.
In Japan, people are raised on stories of the suffering in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which was bombed by the United States on August 9, 1945 and many are staunchly pacifist as the local children of Hiroshima who regularly visit the museum and listen to he tales of the survivors.
"I learnt here how difficult life was in the past when there was war and thought how sad it was that all these people got sick." said nine-year-old Mikoto (MEE-KOH-TOH) Takimoto (TAH-KEE-MOH-TOH).
"I don't ever want war to ever happen again, not only in Japan but also in other countries." said Nanami (NAH-NAH-MEE) Tanaka (TAH-NAH-KAH), 11, who has visited the museum four times.
"I wish they would have stopped the war. But I heard from a friend that Japan had actually started the war so in a way I think Japan is at fault," said nine-year-old Rena (REH-NA) Ikoma (EE-KOH-MAH).
But with the average age of Hiroshima's survivors now well over 70, the memories of the bomb are beginning to fade and instead, support for the country to assume a greater global military role is growing.
Japan's ruling party, in it's latest call for a more assertive security stance, this week proposed that the military should not be limited to a self-defence role, but should take part in international efforts to secure peace overseas.
Many bomb survivors are hoping that by passing on their stories to the younger generation, Japan's pacifist stance will be upheld in the future and also help prevent nuclear proliferation.
"Our duty, our responsibility is to prevent that third nuclear bomb at all costs. I believe we all need act and speak as one against the ban on nuclear weapon. It isn't someone else's problem, after all." said Hosokawa, who suffered cuts all over his body from glass shards 60 years ago.
He was able to escape the heat thanks to a large pillar.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has repeated a pledge that Japan -- the only nation to suffer an atomic attack -- would work for nuclear disarmament.
But the fact remains that nuclear armament of Japan is no longer considered a taboo topic as it has been for decades.
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2015. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None