Nagasaki mayor criticizes Japanese government militarism

This video is called Shock Doctrine in Japan: Shinzo Abe‘s Rightward Shift to Militarism, Secrecy in Fukushima’s Wake.

From Associated Press:

Japanese defence policy questioned on 69th anniversary of atomic bombing

Mari Yamaguchi

Published Saturday, August 9, 2014 7:59AM EDT

TOKYO — The mayor of Nagasaki on Saturday criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s push toward Japan’s more assertive defence policy, as the city marked the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing.

In his “peace declaration” speech at the ceremony in Nagasaki’s Peace Park, Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged Abe’s government to listen to growing public concerns over Japan’s commitment to its pacifist pledge.

Thousands of attendants, including U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and a record number of representatives from 51 countries, offered a minute of silence and prayed for the victims at 11:02 a.m., the moment the bomb was dropped over Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, as bells rang. They also laid wreaths of white and yellow chrysanthemums at the Statue of Peace.

The U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945, prompting Tokyo’s World War II surrender. The first on Hiroshima killed 140,000 people and the Nagasaki bomb killed another 70,000.

The anniversary comes as Japan is divided over the government’s decision to allow its military to defend foreign countries and play greater roles overseas by exercising what is referred to as collective self-defence. To achieve that goal, Abe’s Cabinet revised its interpretation of Japan’s war-renouncing constitution.

Pacifism, enshrined in the constitution, is the “founding principle” of postwar Japan and Nagasaki, Taue said.

“However, the rushed debate over collective self-defence has prompted concern that this principle is shaking,” he said. “I strongly request that the Japanese government take note of the situation and carefully listen to the voices of distress and concerns.”

Polls show more than half of respondents are opposed to the decision, mainly because of sensitivity over Japan’s wartime past and devastation at home.

Representing the Nagasaki survivors, Miyako Jodai, 75, said that Abe’s government was not living up to expectations.

Jodai, a retired teacher who was exposed to radiation just 2.4 kilometres (1.5 miles) from ground zero, said that the defence policy that puts more weight on military power was “outrageous” and a shift away from pacifism.

“Please stand by our commitment to peace. Please do not forget the sufferings of the atomic bombing survivors,” Jodai said at the ceremony.

The number of surviving victims, known as “hibakusha,” was just more than 190,000 this year across Japan. Their average age is 79. In Nagasaki, 3,355 survivors died over the past year, while 5,507 passed away in Hiroshima.

Abe kept his eyes closed and sat motionless as he listened to the outright criticism, rare at a solemn ceremony.

In his speech, he did not mention his defence policy or the pacifist constitution. He repeated his sympathy to the victims and said Japan as the sole victim of nuclear attacks has the duty to take leadership in achieving a nuclear-free society, while telling the world of the inhumane side of nuclear weapons.

The speech had minor tweaks from last year’s, after Abe faced criticism that the speech he delivered in Hiroshima on Thursday was almost identical to the one from the previous year, Kyodo News reported.

See also here.

Nuclear Attack on Japan was Opposed by American Military Leadership: here.

The Japanese government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe released its latest defence white paper this week, setting the stage for further boosting Japan’s military capacities, directed unmistakeably against China: here.

Pope Francis calls for global ban on nukes in Nagasaki visit: here.

32 thoughts on “Nagasaki mayor criticizes Japanese government militarism

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  22. Monday 11th September 2011

    Accounts by survivors of the Nagaski atomic bomb paint a grim picture of life following a nuclear attack, says PETER MASON

    Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War

    by Susan Southard

    (Souvenir Press, £15)

    OF THE two Japanese cities devastated by atom bombs at the end of the second world war, Hiroshima often takes the focus.

    Susan Southard’s book — now out in paperback — is therefore a welcome documentation of the suffering in Nagasaki, obliterated by the second of the US bombs three days after Hiroshima. It killed 74,000 people and injured 75,000 others.

    Southard’s account is based on a series of in-depth interviews the US author conducted with five Hibakusha — survivors of the bomb — who were teenagers when it dropped. Weaved into a general narrative about the explosion and its aftermath, the personal stories help to construct a heart-rending picture of its direct physical and emotional consequences, not just over the following days but across the ensuing decades.

    Through the eyes of each subject, we witness the awfulness of the moment when the bomb detonated and look at the various stages of acute distress that followed, including the initial physical and mental numbness, the searing pain of multiple injuries, the grief of finding many relatives lost and, for many years afterwards, the struggle with debilitating illness and accompanying social dislocation.

    While the experiences of the five Hibakusha differ in various ways — Sumiteru Taniguchi, for instance, spent nearly two years in hospital recovering from terrible burns, while others were back out into society relatively quickly — each had in common the excruciating blight of trying to put the nightmare of the past behind them, of rebuilding their shattered lives and of trying to come to terms with years of continued mental and physical anguish.

    Southard does not flinch from describing the horror of the immediate impact of the bomb — a dazed mother carrying the head of her child around in a bucket, a boy with his eyeballs hanging out on stalks, small children with their bodies stripped of skin, crying out for water.

    Nor does she shy away from some of the controversies that quickly reared their heads, such as the activities of the US-led Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, whose medical officers descended on Nagasaki to conduct intrusive and upsetting studies of the Hibakusha while offering them no medical help in return.

    Yet at the core of the book is a calm focus on the personal tragedies that continued for many years afterwards.

    Some of the bomb’s long-term ramifications are expected, such as the prevalence of conditions related to radiation, including various forms of cancer.

    But others are surprising, including social stigma and joblessness, family and public rejection and the initial refusal of the Japanese state to provide any useful practical help to the Hibakusha.

    Throughout, Southard presents these extreme trials and tribulations with an admirable even-handedness that serves to strengthen the power of the narrative. She also pulls off the tricky task of weaving together the Hibakushas’ separate stories without creating confusion.

    By the end, as each of the survivors gradually gets their life together, the reader feels almost as if they have become treasured family members.

    Southard’s book is a considerable achievement. Shot through with humanity, it also provides powerful and dispassionate evidence of the sheer folly and acute danger of nuclear proliferation.


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