Expectation for "Festival of Peace" diminishes while a-bomb exhibition cancels survivors lecture

2021.8.6 16:38

Hirata Michimasa

Hiroshima marked the 76th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing on August 6. Atomic bomb exhibitions planned by Hiroshima City and Nagasaki City were held in Tokyo. The Tokyo Olympics were supposed to be an opportunity to appeal the abolition of nuclear weapons to the world, but foreign visitors could not be expected and the scale of the exhibition was reduced. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has declined the call for silence on the 6th, which was requested by the city of Hiroshima and others. Still, both cities continues to appeal a world without nuclear weapons.
The atomic bomb exhibition was planned by Hiroshima City and Nagasaki City in various parts of the Kanto region in time for the Olympics before the Corona disaster. At one corner of the Chiyoda City Office, panels were lined up to convey the damage situation of the atomic bomb and the movements surrounding nuclear weapons, all of which were accompanied by English explanations.
The exhibition, which was scheduled to be held in the large hall originally, has changed the venue due to the novel coronavirus vaccine. The venue became small, and the city official in charge said, "It wasn't originally a place to hold an exhibition, but I managed to secure it." The exhibits such as the involved wristwatch that stopped at 8:15 am and the folded paper cranes of the A-bomb survivors wishing for improvement were postponed. The lecture on the A-bomb experience was also canceled.
"It has become difficult to come from Japan as well as overseas." Okita Natsuki, the director of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, regretted in the telephone interview. Since last year, the museum has been giving lectures on the experience of the atomic bombing online. But she explained "you will have a different impression when you face the atomic bomb survivors and materials. I wanted to realize it."
A-bomb survivors were also expecting the Olympics, which is a "festival of peace" as a chance in which they can appeal the elimination of nuclear weapons. Hirata Michimasa (85) = Suginami Ward = recalled the last Tokyo Olympics. The final runner of the torch relay was the late Sakai Yoshinori, who was born in Hiroshima Prefecture on the day the atomic bomb was dropped. "I certainly believed that the world was heading for peace."
Hirata was a-bombed at home in Hiroshima city, 2 km from the hypocenter, when he was 9 years old. Although he evacuated to the air raid shelter and escaped from burns, he lived with the expectation that he could die at any time. Fearing prejudice, he did not reveal the fact that he was an a-bomb survivor for many years.
Just before he retired from his company he learned that a senior employee had gone to the United States to demonstrate as an atomic bomb survivor, and decided to take action. "Nuclear abolition will not be realized unless the world is involved," he testifies to the atomic bombing experience in each country.
He tried to take a positive view of the actions of IOC President Thomas Bach, who visited Hiroshima City before the opening of the Olympics. However, the IOC declined the call for silence on the 6th, which Hiroshima City and others had hoped for. "The festival of peace has diminished its significance. It has a long way to go, but I continues to appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons." The a-bomb survivor group to which he belongs held an atomic bomb exhibition on August 2 to 4 for the first time in two years at the Suginami City Office.

This article is composed using Google Translate customized exclusively for The Chunichi Shimbun. The translation may have limited accuracy.