On Hiroshima's Anniversary, Specter of N. Korea

72 years since US dropped first atomic bomb
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 6, 2017 6:03 AM CDT
On Anniversary of Hiroshima, N. Korea Looms
People gathered for a ceremony are seen above the Atomic Bomb Dome at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan, Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, to mark the 72nd anniversary of the world's first atomic bombing that killed 140,000 people in 1945. Hiroshima's appeal of "never again" on the 72nd anniversary...   (Shingo Nishizume)

Hiroshima's appeal of "never again" on the anniversary Sunday of the world's first atomic bomb attack has gained urgency as North Korea moves ever closer to nuclear weapons, reports the AP. "Nuclear weapons just are unacceptable for mankind," says Toshiki Fujimori, who was just a year old when the bomb dropped. Many Japanese and others in the region seem resigned to North Korea's apparent newfound capacity to launch missiles capable of reaching much of the United States. But the threat lends a deeper sense of alarm in Hiroshima, where 140,000 died in that first A-bomb attack on Aug. 6, 1945, which was followed on Aug. 9 by another that killed 70,000 in Nagasaki. "This hell is not a thing of the past," Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said Sunday. "As long as nuclear weapons exist and policymakers threaten their use, their horror could leap into our present at any moment. You could find yourself suffering their cruelty."

Today, a single bomb can cause even greater damage than the bombs dropped 72 years ago, he said. "Humankind must never commit such an act," he said, urging nuclear states, as well as Japan, to join the nuclear weapons ban adopted by the United Nations in July. Decades later, 73-year-old Fujimori himself is a leader of Hidankyo, a major organization of atomic bomb survivors. "We must eradicate nuclear weapons from the earth to make the world a safe place to live," he said in an interview. "There is still a lot to do and we must keep working on it." "What if that young leader (Kim Jong Un) pushes a nuclear weapons launch button? I think neighboring Japan has a risk of being hit," said Tamio Ishida, 59, whose father was a survivor. "I think tensions have risen and many people in Hiroshima share a sense of urgency." (Read more Hiroshima stories.)

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