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11 Aug 2022 14:31
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  •   Home > News > International

    Hiroshima's mayor slams Russia while marking 77th anniversary of atomic bombing

    Bells toll in Hiroshima as officials, including the UN Secretary General, warn of a new arms race following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.


    Japan is today marking the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which killed tens of thousands of people in World War II. 

    WARNING: This story contains graphic images which may disturb some readers.

    Bells tolled in Hiroshima on Saturday, commemorating the world's first atomic bombing, with officials including the United Nations Secretary-General warning of a new arms race in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

    At 8:15am on August 6, 1945, the US B-29 warplane Enola Gay dropped a bomb nicknamed "Little Boy" and obliterated the city, which had an estimated population of 350,000.

    Estimates of how many people died from the bomb, either instantly or in the following months, range between 90,000 and 166,000.

    However the bomb would go on to claim the lives of thousands more as the effects of radiation took their toll.

    About 70 per cent of the city's buildings were destroyed, and another 7 per cent severely damaged.

    Three days later, a second bomb was detonated in Nagasaki, leading to an additional estimated 70,000 deaths. 

    Japan surrendered days later, on August 15, 1945, bringing the war to a close. 

    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres joined the thousands packed into the Peace Park in the centre of the city to mark the anniversary of the bombing, only the second time a UN leader has taken part in the annual ceremony.

    "Nuclear weapons are nonsense," Mr Guterres said.

    "They guarantee no safety — only death and destruction.

    "Three-quarters of a century later, we must ask what we've learned from the mushroom cloud that swelled above this city in 1945."

    Mr Guterres sidestepped a direct mention of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

    Hiroshima mayor Kazumi Matsui, whose city this year did not invite the Russian ambassador to the ceremony, was more pointed and critical of Moscow's military actions in Ukraine.

    "In invading Ukraine, the Russian leader, elected to protect the lives and property of his people, is using them as instruments of war, stealing the lives and livelihoods of civilians in a different country," Mr Matsui said.

    "Around the world, the notion that peace depends on nuclear deterrence gains momentum.

    "These errors betray humanity's determination, born of our experiences of war, to achieve a peaceful world free from nuclear weapons.

    "To accept the status quo and abandon the ideal of peace maintained without military force is to threaten the very survival of the human race."

    ABC/Reuters


    ABC




    © 2022 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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