At 8:15 am on August 6th, 1945 the first use of atomic bombs was unleashed on the civilians of Hiroshima Japan. 70,000 immediately lost their lives. By the end of 1945 between 90,000 and 166,000 died due to the bombing. By 1950 approximately 200,000 had died from cancer or other health impacts from the bombing. Those that survived suffered not just health impacts but social stigma as Hibakusha.
This year’s Hiroshima Peace Festival has taken on new meaning as Japan struggles with the devastation of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power disaster. A new light has been put on not just the risk of nuclear bombs but the risk nuclear power is to the safety of people in Japan and throughout the world.
Atomic bombing survivors have turned against nuclear power. Many initially saw the peaceful use of nuclear power as a positive but in light of Fukushima Daiichi are now officially asking for it to be stopped.
Huffington Post has a series of photos from Hiroshima, images are from this year and show some of the activities going on. Both Prime Minister Kan and Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui are expected to speak at this years remembrance. Kan is expected to touch on the nations energy policy as part of his speech.
Greg Mitchell at The Nation has been writing a series with details of what actions took place leading up to the bombing of Hiroshima. His work is very enlightening to many who do not know the political and strategic happenings that were not well publicized even today. Mitchell has also authored a book about the US cover up of the true result of the bombing. Photos, film and other data have been suppressed for years leaving many in the West without a full understanding of the bombing of Hiroshima. Mitchell also wrote an article at Japan Focus about the memorial mound, the impact on those that survived and the suppression of information that went on for decades.
The United States were key in developing Japan’s first nuclear reactors and pushing for the political acceptance of the technology in Japan. Ironically, the first commercial reactor built in Japan was unit 1 at Fukushima Daiichi, built as a turnkey project by General Electric. New information has come out about the larger US plan to convince Japan to allow the US to install nuclear missiles in Japan. The peaceful nuclear power push was seen as an entrance to convince the Japanese to allow nuclear weapons on their soil. The “Atoms for Peace” program in the US may have been little about peace and more about acceptance of nuclear technology, then weapons by civilians in the US and abroad.
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