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In milestone year, A-bomb survivor keeps up fight for nuclear disarmament

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In milestone year, A-bomb survivor keeps up fight for nuclear disarmament

By Akiko Okamoto

 

2020-08-03T072845Z_2_LYNXMPEG72073_RTROPTP_4_WW2-ANNIVERSARY-NAGASAKI-SURVIVOR.JPG

Terumi Tanaka, a Nagasaki atomic bombing survivor and co-chairperson of Nihon Hidankyo, a country-wide organisation of atomic and hydrogen bomb sufferers, poses for a photograph during an interview with Reuters at the Nihon Hidankyo office in Tokyo, Japan July 30, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

 

TOKYO (Reuters) - Terumi Tanaka was 13 when a U.S. warplane dropped a plutonium bomb on the southern Japanese city of Nagasaki, on Aug. 9, 1945.

 

Sitting at home with a book that morning, Tanaka knew instantly when his surroundings turned a blinding bright white that the massive boom was not one of the air raids he had gotten accustomed to in the waning days of World War Two.

 

"I felt this was something terrible, so I ran downstairs and ducked, covered my ears and closed my eyes," Tanaka, now 88, told Reuters. "And at that moment, I lost consciousness."

 

Just 3.2 km (2 miles) from the epicentre, Tanaka was miraculously unharmed, as were his mother and two sisters. Tanaka's father had died of illness previously.

 

Tanaka's grandfather, aunt and uncle weren't as lucky.

 

Three days after the 10,000-pound (4,536kg) bomb, nicknamed "Fat Man", exploded over the city, Tanaka ventured towards the epicentre to check on his relatives.

 

It was only then that the scale of the calamity sank in.

 

Buildings in the city had been reduced to charred piles of rubble and twisted metal, a vast expanse of land was wiped out, and corpses and burn victims with flesh peeling off their bones littered the ground. His grandfather was one of them: Tanaka dabbed a wet handkerchief to his mouth, which appeared to silently cry out for water. That was their last encounter.

 

Three days after the hydrogen bomb attack in Hiroshima, the Nagasaki blast killed about 27,000 instantly and more than 70,000 by the end of the year. Japan surrendered six days later.

 

For nearly 50 years, Tanaka has been speaking out for nuclear disarmament hoping that his experiences as a witness to one of the only two nuclear bombs ever to be used in conflict would serve to end their potential use.

 

In this 75th year since the war ended, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted some key events, such as a New York exhibition that Tanaka helped to organise.

 

Instead, Tanaka, who served as head of the "Hidankyo" victims' group for more than 20 years, has turned online to spread his message, with the unexpected benefit of reaching a broader audience.

 

But he worries that time is running out.

 

"After all the atomic bomb survivors are gone, I'm worried whether people will be able to really understand what we have experienced," he said.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-08-03
 
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If Japan had not had such a warlike culture there would have been no need for an atomic bomb.

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36 minutes ago, lungbing said:

If Japan had not had such a warlike culture there would have been no need for an atomic bomb.

Other than the fact the Germans were developing one? I get your point however. I lived in Japan for a long time and every August they would do the moment of silence thing and talk about how horrible the bombs were. All the while never acknowledging that it was their attempt to take over the world that brought it upon them. 

 

As far as stopping nukes around the world, I am not sure it can be done. The technology is about as old as a tube TV. Japan for example could probably assemble a bomb in 15 minutes if they wanted or had to.

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5 hours ago, GinBoy2 said:

I have very mixed emotions when it comes to the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan.

 

Yes the outcome was horrendous, but it pales compared to the massacre of 8M Chinese during WW2 by Japanese forces

 

So Yes, it was awful and the world will never be the same.

But it did bring to an end the awful rape and killing by Japan, without losing more hundreds of thousands of US troops if a full scale invasion of the Japanese home islands had been attempted.

 

I think it's often forgotten by many Americans and Europeans, that China had the largest number of civilian deaths of any nation in WW2.

 

Thats a fact Japan has struggled to accept, and has rather preferred to focus on Nagasaki and Hiroshima

Except the Soviet Union had rather more...

https://www.nationalww2museum.org/students-teachers/student-resources/research-starters/research-starters-worldwide-deaths-world-war

 

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15 hours ago, OneMoreFarang said:

Unfortunately the country with the most nukes in this world tries hard that other countries don't get nukes. But they want more and more and no disarmament. Sad.

I don't think so. Russia likely helped North Korea along their way to a hydrogen bomb. I can't conceive such an isolated, near stone age state has the capability to do it alone. Also note Russia has been Iran's only significant global ally. 

 

https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Nuclearweaponswhohaswhat

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15 hours ago, Tug said:

Imo the bomb has been a mixed blessing we haven’t repeated ww1 ww2 size wars (excluding Iran versus Iraq)in the early 80s.in the long run it as horrible as it sounds it probably saved many lives in japan as no invasion was nessary I wished they had demonstrated its power to the Japanese in a different way let’s all pray it’s never used again 

A complete myth and utterly false.

 

The Americans with their atomic bombs killed more in one day than Germans did during the entire war at Buchenwald.

 

Moreover, the atomic bombs were completely unnecessary and saved no lives at all. They did however cost over 100,000 lives. In one day.

 

Japan, as is now known, was already trying to surrender. The notion that the bombs saved lives is an out and out propaganda lie put out by Truman at the time to justify his barbaric war crime. Historians now are clear that the bomb did not save lives and was wholly unnecessary.

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1 minute ago, rabas said:
15 hours ago, OneMoreFarang said:

Unfortunately the country with the most nukes in this world tries hard that other countries don't get nukes. But they want more and more and no disarmament. Sad.

I don't think so. Russia likely helped North Korea along their way to a hydrogen bomb. I can't conceive such an isolated, near stone age state has the capability to do it alone. Also note Russia has been Iran's only significant global ally. 

 

https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Nuclearweaponswhohaswhat

What you say does not make my statement untrue.

I am sure some nuclear powers help other countries - like the USA helps Israel. And in a way that's bad because more nuclear weapons are bad.

But it's easy to understand why NK wants to keep their weapons. And it's also easy to understand why other countries want those weapons.

Because the risk for countries who have those weapons to be attacked by other countries such as the USA is so much lower. Like: Can you blame someone to get a gun when the neighbor is pointing a gun at them? 

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, OneMoreFarang said:

What you say does not make my statement untrue.

Your statement was untrue as soon as you posted it. Did you look at the link?

 

https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Nuclearweaponswhohaswhat

 

Anyway, you accused the US of supporting nuclear non proliferation, that part I agree with.

 

Edited by rabas
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The 1946 United States Strategic Bombing Survey in Japan concluded the atomic bombs had been unnecessary to win the war. They said:

 

It seems clear that, even without the atomic bombing attacks, air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion.

Bаsеd on а dеtаilеd invеstigаtion of аll thе fаcts, аnd supportеd by thе tеstimony of thе surviving Jаpаnеsе lеаdеrs involvеd, it is thе Survеy's opinion thаt cеrtаinly prior to 31 Dеcеmbеr 1945, аnd in аll probаbility prior to 1 Novеmbеr 1945, Jаpаn would hаvе surrеndеrеd еvеn if thе аtomic bombs hаd not bееn droppеd, еvеn if Russiа hаd not еntеrеd thе wаr, аnd еvеn if no invаsion hаd bееn plаnnеd or contеmplаtеd.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate_over_the_atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki#Militarily_unnecessary

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