75 years later, the Japanese city of Nagasaki commemorated, Sunday, August 9, its destruction by an American atomic bomb. Three days after the dropping of the "Little Boy" bomb on Hiroshima, Nagasaki in turn was devastated on August 9, 1945 by nuclear fire.
These two bombs of a destructive power unprecedented at the time brought Japan to its knees: on August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced to his subjects the surrender to the Allies, thus signing the end of World War II. .
Sunday morning, a mass was said in memory of the victims at Urakami Church, near the site of the explosion, while other residents participated in a ceremony in the Peace Park.
The number of people authorized to attend had been reduced by 90% compared to the figure for previous years. Those who wished could, however, follow the commemorations live on television.
"Human beings have around 13,000 atomic bombs today"
Terumi Tanaka, 88, who was 13 on the day of the bombing, still remembers when everything turned white in a flash of light. "I saw a lot of people with burns and terrible wounds evacuating already dead people to a primary school transformed into a shelter," recently confided the one who lost two aunts that day.
The survivors "think that the world must give up nuclear weapons because we do not want the younger generations to experience the same thing", explained Terumi Tanaka, while worrying about the excess of confidence of the population, convinced according to him that an atomic bomb can never be dropped again.
"Human beings have about 13,000 atomic bombs today. How can we allow that?" He asked. "People think we'll never use it again. But you never know, you never know."
The ceremonies come as concerns over North Korean nuclear programs remain, and relations continue to sour between Washington and Beijing.
The United States has never officially apologized
The atomic bomb killed around 140,000 people in Hiroshima. Many victims were killed instantly, and many more also died from their injuries or from radiation in the weeks and months that followed. The second American A-bomb, dropped on Nagasaki, killed 74,000 more.
Historians, however, continue to debate whether this double nuclear attack actually saved more lives by hastening the end of the conflict.
Many consider the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to be war crimes, given the unprecedented scale of their devastation and the large number of civilian casualties.
The United States has never officially apologized. But in 2016, Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima, where he paid tribute to the victims and called for a world without nuclear weapons.
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