More than 200,000 people died of nuclear radiation, shock waves from the blasts and thermal radiation resulting from bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 and of Nagasaki three days later.
Those who lost their lives in service were remembered during a dedication ceremony of a WWII-era amphibious assault vehicle at the museum.
Kazumi Matsui, mayor of the city, delivered a peace declaration at the ceremony, calling for elimination of nuclear weapons and urging policy makers of the world to make efforts to “create versatile security systems that do not depend on military might”.
Matsuyama was 16 years old when the United States dropped its first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
“I saw dirt, buildings and people – 170,000 people in dust in one day”, added Yonkovig.
“My peace declaration will call on leaders around the world, including Japan, to stop taking actions that could cause mistrust in each other” and ultimately lead to nuclear warfare”, he said. “This was a greater catastrophe than anything we had ever known”. Others, especially survivors, worry this may be the last year they will be able to attend.
Thousands of survivors are still being treated at Japanese Red Cross Society hospitals for long-term health effects, with almost two-thirds of deaths among them linked to cancer, the worldwide Committee of the Red Cross, or the ICRC, said.
The city of Hiroshima was only decided as the target of the bombing an hour before the bomb, titled “Little Boy“, was dropped. Majority were sitting in their classroom.
In a fresh controversy over the unpopular moves, defense minister Gen Nakatani admitted that the new security laws being debated in parliament could – in theory – allow for Japan to transport nuclear weapons to allies, but he quickly dismissed it as unlikely. However, Japanese historian Yuki Tanaska believes that the Japanese people did not surrender because the bomb destroyed Hiroshima. A Buddhist bell will be run seven times, one for each decade that has passed since the bombings and at 4:15pm, a moment of silence will be observed, at the exact time the bomb was dropped 70 years ago (8:15pm on August 6, Japan time).
“Ceremonies like this water down the fact that Japan was also a perpetrator of war crimes”.
Meanwhile, a government panel commissioned by Mr Abe to review the country’s recent history has praised Japan’s postwar economic growth and commitment to pacifism but also cites lack of reconciliation with China and South Korea.
“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”.
In Kuala Lumpur, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Hiroshima is a “powerful reminder (that) underscores the importance of the agreement we reached with Iran to reduce the possibility of more nuclear weapons”.