UPDATED 2:20 PM PT – Saturday, August 6, 2022
On the 77th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, the Japanese prime minister called on the world to abandon nuclear weapons. On Saturday, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida among thousands of attendees observed the deaths of 140,000 citizens who lost their lives in 1945. Kishida also announced Hiroshima will be hosting next year’s G7 summit where officials hope to rally world leaders behind a pledge of denuclearization.
“Tens of thousands of people were killed in this city in the blink of an eye,” said UN head Antonio Guterres. “Women, children and men were incinerated in a hellish fire.”
In Hiroshima to mark the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombing, I met young activists who tirelessly carry the message of peace forward to a new generation.
The world must never forget what happened here. pic.twitter.com/2eQbQv8z0q
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) August 6, 2022
Before dawn, survivors and their relatives began to gather at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park to offer flowers and prayers. A silent prayer was held at 8.15 am, the moment the bomb was dropped. The Russian ambassador was not invited to the ceremony but visited Hiroshima on Thursday to lay flowers at the memorial site. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, President Vladimir Putin has made thinly veiled threats hinting at a willingness to deploy tactical nuclear weapons.
In a speech on Saturday, Hiroshima mayor Kazumi Matsui cited Leo Tolstoy, the Russian author of “War and Peace” and said “Never build your happiness on the misfortune of others, for only in their happiness can you find your own.”
Three days after the Hiroshima bombing, Washington dropped a plutonium bomb on the Japanese port city of Nagasaki, killing about 74,000 people and leading to the end of World War II. The United States remains the only country ever to have used nuclear weapons in conflict.
The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was also in attendance and spoke alongside Kishida.