Japan remembers Nagasaki atomic bomb, 70 years on

Nagasaki atomic bomb

The Japanese city of Nagasaki is marking 70 years since the dropping of an atomic bomb by the United States.

A ceremony at the Nagasaki Peace Park observed a minute’s silence.

Speeches by a survivor and Nagasaki’s mayor both criticised the attending Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for his plans to loosen the restrictions on what Japan’s military can do.

Nagasaki bombing

At least 70,000 died in the Nagasaki attack, which came three days after another bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

Nagasaki was only chosen because the original target, Kokura, was obscured by a cloud.

Sunday's ceremony at the Nagasaki Peace Park saw the release of doves
Sunday’s ceremony at the Nagasaki Peace Park saw the release of doves

A solemn ceremony in front of guests from 75 countries, including US ambassador Caroline Kennedy, began on Sunday with a declaration read out by children.

A minute’s silence and bells marked the time of the explosion at 11:02 (02:02 GMT).

Nagasaki mayor Tomihisa Taue then delivered a peace declaration to the ceremony. He said there was “widespread unease” about Mr Abe’s legislation that will alter the constitutional requirement limiting Japan’s military to self defense.

Nagasaki often gets forgotten as the world focuses on Hiroshima. But the bomb dropped here was made from plutonium and even more powerful.

Perhaps the most powerful moment in the ceremony came when survivor Sumiteru Taniguchi got up to speak. He described his own terrible injuries… of the skin hanging like rags from his arms and back.

But then he turned on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sitting nearby. Do not meddle with Japan’s pacifist constitution, he warned him. The audience erupted in loud clapping. Mr Abe looked straight ahead, showing no emotion.