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Japan honors memory of victims of Hiroshima atomic bombing

August 06, 3:59 UTC+3 TOKYO

A moment of silence was traditionally announced throughout the country at exactly 08:15 local time

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© AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File

TOKYO, August 6. /TASS/. Japan observed a moment of silence on Monday to commemorate the victims of the Hiroshima atomic bombing, which took tens of thousands of lives 73 years ago.

The memorial ceremony is currently taking place in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in the center of the city.

A moment of silence was traditionally announced throughout the country at exactly 08:15 local time (02:15 Moscow time) - the time when an atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

"We must achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. Renunciation of nuclear weapons should become a common value for all people around the world," Kazumi Matsui, Mayor of the city of Hiroshima, said.

He also stressed that "there are still more than 14,000 nuclear warheads in the world today," which may cause the repetition of the terrible history of Hiroshima. According to him, "some countries would make statements about nationalism with so much fanfare and modernizing their nuclear capabilities," rather than following the path of nuclear disarmament. Matsui also called on his government to follow Japan’s peaceful constitution and stand at the head of a movement aimed at achieving a world without nuclear weapons.

According to the administration of Hiroshima, this year representatives of 85 countries and the European Union are taking part in the ceremony. In particular, these are diplomats from nuclear powers - Russia, the UK, the US, France. The representative of China will not attend the commemorative events, while the officials from Turkey and Myanmar attend it for the first time. Invitations to the ceremony were sent to 157 countries.

Atomic bombing

Overnight to August 6, 1945 the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay bomber carrying the Little Boy atomic bomb departed from the Mariana Islands. The pilot was commander of the 509th Composite Group of the 20th Air Force Col Paul Tibbets. The bomb was ordered to be dropped under visual control. According to reconnaissance planes, it was too cloudy over Kokura and Nagasaki, and that’s why the bomber headed to Hiroshima. Japanese radars detected the approaching US aircraft, but to preserve fuel the Japanese fighters were not sent to intercept the bomber and a small escort group.

At 8:15 a.m. local time, the Boeing B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb with 64 kg of enriched uranium from the altitude of 9,000 m. It exploded at a height of 580 m. The size of the bomb was 13 kilotonnes of TNT. The radius of destruction was 1,600 km and the blast radius was 20 km.

Fires broke out on the area of 12 square kilometers, developing into a fire storm, that destroyed or severely damaged up to 90% of the city buildings. The Hiroshima population was estimated at between 250,000 and 350,000.

Victims

According to various estimates, the explosion of the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima, in one day killed between 70,000 and 100,000 people. By the end of 1945, the number of victims had increased to 140,000 due to those who died in hospitals from wounds and radiation.

Every year this sad list is replenished when a "hibakusha" dies. Hibakusha is the Japanese word for surviving victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Besides that, the names of those people who died during the blast but whose death was not confirmed until now are added to the list.

According to the administration of Hiroshima, over the past year more than 5,393 names were added to the list. Thus, the total number of victims of the tragedy exceeded 314,000 people. Currently, 154,000 "hibakushya" live in Japan and their average age is 82 years.

Hiroshima Day

August 6 marks Hiroshima Day - the international day of fight for the prohibition of nuclear weapons. The unofficial commemorative date is dedicated to the first day when nuclear weapons were used - the atomic bombing of Japan’s Hiroshima (1945) and the holding of the first global conference on banning nuclear weapons (1955).

On August 9, 1945 the bombing of Nagasaki, home to nearly 200,000 people, was carried out. Between 30,000 and 40,000 people were killed by the blast.

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