US diplomat: Hiroshima atom bombing should never be repeated
TOKYO (AP) — A U.S. diplomat who attended this week’s 70th anniversary of the American atomic bombing of Hiroshima said Friday that nuclear weapons should never be used again.
Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller was the highest-ranking U.S. official at Thursday’s ceremony.
Gottemoeller said she was moved by seeing aging Japanese survivors continue to tell their stories to help the world understand the consequences of nuclear weapons. She said those stories must be passed on to future generations and the world must continue nonproliferation efforts.
“I do think that it’s very, very important that the word get passed down to the next generation. We don’t want to see nuclear use happen again,” she said. Gottemoeller added that people need to understand “the dire and terrible consequences of nuclear weapons’ use for humanity.”
The U.S. atomic attack on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, killed 140,000 people from injuries and the immediate effects of radiation within five months. Another on Nagasaki three days later initially killed more than 70,000.
Gottemoeller is also scheduled to attend the Aug. 9 ceremony in Nagasaki.
With the average age of surviving victims, or hibakusha, now exceeding 80 this year, passing on their stories is considered an urgent task.
The bomb, called “Little Boy,” destroyed 90 percent of Hiroshima. A “black rain” of radioactive particles followed the blinding blast and fireball, and has been linked to higher rates of cancer and other radiation-related diseases among survivors.