NAGASAKI: As Nagasaki commemorates the 77th anniversary of the atomic blast that wiped out half the city, Mayor TAUE Tomihisa believes that Japan, not just Nagasaki, should stand as a symbol of defiance in the nuclear age.
“As Nagasaki’s mayor, I want to spread the message of peace to the world as the city’s representative, but Nagasaki must consider that it is a part of Japan. So, in terms of spreading the message in other countries, it is not just the message that the city wants to share that must be considered, but the message of the country as a whole,” Mayer TAUE said in a recent interview with Arab News Japan at his office in Nagasaki city building.
Historically, Nagasaki can count itself as one of the unluckiest cities in the world. It became the second victim of America’s atomic bomb only due to a quirk of fate. It was cloudy over the initial target, so the pilots diverted to the secondary target of Nagasaki, and the “Fat Man” bomb was dropped on the historic city, which, in a bizarre twist of fate, was also a center of Christianity in Japan.
“Originally, it was intended that Kokura (now Kitakyushu City) would be bombed on that day and not Nagasaki, which was a secondary target, but at that time, because it was cloudy, the mission was changed, and Nagasaki became the target,” Taue explained. The mayor pointed out that not everyone remembers this point but added that a cenotaph was erected in Kitakyushu, where people gathered on August 9 to remember the bombing and the city’s lucky escape.
“Some A-bomb survivors pointed out that the cenotaph was not facing toward Nagasaki, and because of this, the cenotaph’s position was changed,” Taue says. “It now faces Nagasaki City, and when people gather and pray for peace, they pray towards Nagasaki. Some young families bring their children to Nagasaki City. So, in this way, we can share our views and opinions, and people always remember Nagasaki.”
Mayor Taue stressed in the interview the abolition of nuclear weapons as this year marks the 77 anniversary after his southwestern Japan city was devastated by a U.S. atomic bomb. He warned that as long as nuclear weapons exist, they can be used. The plutonium bomb codenamed “Fat Man” dropped by a U.S. bomber exploded over Nagasaki at 11:02 a.m. on August 9, 1945, as the only second nuclear weapon to be used in war. It took the lives of about 74,000 people by the end of that year.