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It was not a ceremony as massive as the occasion deserved . The second wave of coronavirus that is now hitting Japan has given no respite to remember how everyone would have liked what happened in Hiroshima 75 years ago. If during the peak of the pandemic in April the Asian country did not exceed 700 infections a day, now it takes more than a week to exceed three figures every day. Therefore, the anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb has had to be celebrated with a limited number of guests.
This year there were not thousands of people around the Peace Memorial Park. Still, 880 people have gathered in separate seats to maintain social distance. There were local authorities and survivors. Also representatives of 80 countries that do not forget that atomic bomb, the Little Boy, launched by an American bomber that killed about 140,000 people in August 1945 .
The number of ' hibakusha ' (bombed people) who survived the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings was 136,682 in March. But just a week ago, a Japanese court recognized dozens more survivors in a landmark ruling. Justice ruled that 84 plaintiffs, who suffer from radiation-related illnesses , were entitled to the same medical benefits as those survivors who lived closest to where the bomb exploded. The Hiroshima government will now have to provide free treatment to all of them, who are between 70 and 90 years old.
The 75th anniversary ceremony has come at a turbulent time when the world is engulfed by a pandemic and with strong geopolitical disputes, led by the new Cold War between the United States and China, as well as the threat of global economic slowdown . For all these reasons, the word "union" was the most repeated during the meeting in Hiroshima.
"Countries have to put aside their differences and unite to overcome all threats, both man-made and natural challenges," said Kazumi Matsui, mayor of the city. "Civil society must reject self-centered nationalism and unite against all those threats," he insisted.
At the exact time of the bombing of that August 6, 1945, at 8:15 am, an emotional minute of silence was observed by all the victims. Later, the Mayor of Hiroshima has spoken up to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons : "As the only nation to have suffered a nuclear attack, Japan must persuade the world public to join the spirit of Hiroshima. To improve its role as mediator between the nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states, I call on the Government of Japan to heed the call of the survivors of the bombing and become part of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. "
Matsui, who has been attending this annual ceremony for a decade as mayor, has urged the Japanese government to sign the UN Treaty to ban nuclear weapons . An agreement, adopted in 2017, that the Japanese Executive refused to sign since it is under the nuclear umbrella of the United States.
In his speech on the spot, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made no reference to this matter except to say that his country's duty was "to continue working for the abolition of nuclear weapons," but he did join Matsui's words to ask "dialogue and unity" to all countries and to eliminate the "feeling of mistrust".
From the UN, Secretary General Antonio Guterres also participated in the ceremony through a video in which he urged all nations to renew efforts to abolish nuclear weapons . "Division, mistrust and lack of dialogue threaten to return the world to unbridled strategic nuclear competition," said Guterres. "The only way to totally eliminate nuclear risk is to totally eliminate nuclear weapons."
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