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Nagasaki Hibakusha uncomfortable with Obama’s “death fell from the sky”

  • August 10, 2016
  • , Tokyo Shimbun , p. 1
  • Translation

Toyokazu Ihara, who read the “Peace Pledge” on behalf of the Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors, expressed outrage towards the speech given by President Obama in Hiroshima in May. The president described the atomic bomb as “death fell from the sky.” “Hiroshima was hit with a uranium gun-type bomb,” Ihara said. “Nagasaki was hit with a plutonium gun-type bomb. We cannot help but suspect that the two nuclear attacks were actually tests of these different types of bombs.”


During the Hiroshima speech, president Obama described the atomic bomb in Hiroshima as follows: “Seventy-one years ago, on a bright cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed.” Ihara was shocked and bewildered to hear the phrase. “The bomb did not just fall, the U.S. dropped it,” he said.


Ihara is not alone. The Japan Confederation of A-and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations adopted a resolution during its regular meeting in June that criticized the president’s Hiroshima speech, pointing out: “There was an expression intending to avoid the responsibility of the U.S., and [the speech] did not present any concrete agenda.”


The resolution offered a certain level of praise for the speech, commenting, “There are words that reached peoples’ hearts.” However, it denounced the expression “fell from the sky” as it presented the atomic bomb as if it were “a natural phenomenon.” After the meeting, Terumi Tanaka, the secretary general of the organization, said to the press, “It’s unforgivable. They caused the death.”


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