A grandson of former U.S. President Harry Truman, who ordered the atomic bombings of Japan during World War II, is in Hiroshima to attend a memorial service for the victims.
Clifton Truman Daniel visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on Saturday and laid a wreath for the 140,000 people killed by the Aug. 6, 1945, bombing authorized by his grandfather. Another atomic blast in Nagasaki three days later killed 70,000 more.
“I think this cenotaph says it all — to honor the dead to not forget and to make sure that we never let this happen again,” Daniel said after offering a silent prayer.
Daniel, 55, is in Japan to attend ceremonies next week in Hiroshima and Nagasaki marking the 67th anniversary of the bombings. His visit, the first by a member of the Truman family, is sponsored by the peace group Sadako Legacy, named after Sadako Sasaki, an A-bomb victim who died of leukemia at age 12. While in the hospital, Sadako folded hundreds of paper cranes after hearing a legend that people who make 1,000 origami cranes can be granted a wish. Origami cranes have since become a symbol of peace.
Daniel, a former journalist, met Sadako’s 71-year-old brother, Masahiro Sasaki, who survived the bombing, at a peace event in New York in 2010. They agreed to work together to deepen understanding between the two countries, which are still divided over the question of the legitimacy of the atomic attacks.
The cenotaph for atomic bomb victims at Hiroshimas Peace Memorial Park was found defaced with what appears to be golden paint in the early hours of Wednesday, police said. Paint was sprayed over part of the cenotaphs inscription, which reads, “Let all souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil,” the police said.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Saturday took his campaign against nuclear energy in Japan to Hiroshima which 66 years ago became the world’s first victim of an atomic bomb.
It marks a change of tack in a country which has until now carefully avoided linking its fast growing, and now discredited, nuclear power industry to its trauma as the only country to have been attacked with atomic bombs.
Kan, speaking at an anniversary ceremony for victims of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, repeated that the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years at Fukushima after a March earthquake convinced him Japan should end its dependence on nuclear power.
Japan is commemorating the victims of the atomic bomb that devastated Hiroshima 65 years ago. The attack by the United States in 1945 was instrumental in ending World War II. Since then on each on August 6, a somber echo of a temple bell reverberates through Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park.
Japan is the only nation ever to have been attacked with atomic bombs. More than 140,000 people were killed instantly in Hiroshima or died in the days and weeks after the U.S. attack. Three days later, a U.S. plane dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing more than 70,000 people. Japan surrendered on August 14.