Bells tolled in Hiroshima on Saturday (August 6) as the city marked the 77th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing, with officials including the United Nations Secretary General warning of a new arms race following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres joined the thousands packed into the Peace Park in the centre of the city to mark the anniversary of the bombing that killed 140,000 before the end of 1945.
“Almost 13,000 nuclear weapons are held in arsenals around the world. And crises with grave nuclear undertones are spreading fast — from the Middle East, to the Korean peninsula, to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Guterres said.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who has chosen Hiroshima as the site of next year’s Group of Seven summit, called on the world to abandon nuclear weapons.
“Now that the use of nuclear weapons has become a real issue…I appeal loudly to the people of the world, here from Hiroshima, that we can never repeat the horrors of the use of nuclear weapons,” he said.
At 8:15 a.m. on Aug 6, 1945, the U.S. B-29 warplane Enola Gay dropped a bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” and obliterated the city with an estimated population of 350,000. Thousands more died later from injuries and radiation-related illnesses.
The Hiroshima catastrophe was followed by the U.S. military’s atomic bombing of Nagasaki on Aug 9, instantly killing more than 75,000 people. Japan surrendered six days later, ending World War Two.