Japanese students use VR to recreate Hiroshima bombing

Yolanda Curtis
August 9, 2018

Organizers say this year is not just about discussing the threat nuclear weapons pose to the world; it's also about offering a pathway to a possible solution.

The number of people certified as hibakusha stood at 154,859 across the country at the end of March this year, according to the health ministry.

Japan needs to lead the global community toward "dialogue and cooperation for a world without nuclear weapons", the mayor added.

About 50,000 people, including Hiroshima residents and representatives from 80 countries, including U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty, attended this year's ceremony.

The anniversary comes as optimism has grown that North Korea may voluntarily denuclearize after Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un and his U.S. counterpart, President Donald Trump, made statements implying as much after they met in Singapore in June.

Japan needs to lead the worldwide community toward "dialogue and cooperation for a world without nuclear weapons", the mayor said at the ceremony attended by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who later said his country's position not to join the treaty remains unchanged. The mayor then touched on the winning of last year's Nobel Peace Prize by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a worldwide network of nongovernmental organizations that pushed for the adoption of the nuclear weapons ban treaty, and said the spirit of the hibakusha "is spreading through the world".

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss efforts to prevent future use of nuclear weapons are Director of the Peace Resource Center at Wilmington College, Dr. Tanya Maus; and Wilmington College Adjunct Professor of Public History and Cincinnati Art Museum Digital Specialist Rachel Ellison.

A man burns a stick of incense at the cenotaph dedicated to the victims of atomic bombing at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.

All participants observed one minute of silence from 8:15 a.m., the time the Little Boy uranium bomb was dropped and detonated over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, killing some 140,000 people by the end of that year. In order to gain cooperation from both sides, it is important for everyone to understand "the reality of the tragedy of nuclear attacks", he said, reiterating Japan's pledge to maintain its pacifist and non-nuclear principles.

"When I was creating the buildings before the atomic bomb fell and after, I saw many photos of buildings that were gone".

His call however highlighted Japan's contradictory relationship with nuclear weapons.

A bell tolled in Hiroshima as Japan marked 73 years since the world's first atomic bombing, with the city's mayor warning that rising nationalism worldwide threatens peace.

The bombings claimed the lives of 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 74,000 people in Nagasaki.

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