Japan remembers Nagasaki atomic bomb victims

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan marked the 63rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki with a solemn ceremony on Saturday and a call for world powers to abandon their nuclear weapons.

Thousands of children, elderly survivors and dignitaries in the city’s Peace Park bowed their heads in a minute of silence at 11:02 a.m. (10:02 p.m. EDT), the time the bomb was dropped, to remember the tens of thousands who ultimately died from the blast.

“The United States and Russia must take the lead in striving to abolish nuclear weapons,” Nagasaki mayor Tomihisa Taue said at the gathering, which included Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.

“These two countries … should begin implementing broad reductions of nuclear weapons instead of deepening their conflict over, among others, the introduction of a missile-defence system in Europe.”

Britain, France and China should also reduce their nuclear arms, he added.

About 27,000 of the southwestern city’s estimated 200,000 population died instantly from the bomb, and about 70,000 had died by the end of 1945.

Nagasaki was bombed by the United States on August 9, 1945, three days after the western city of Hiroshima, where the blast also killed tens of thousands immediately and many more later from radiation sickness.

On August 15, Japan surrendered, bringing World War Two to an end.

Fukuda said Japan had to fulfill its responsible role as a nation of peace

“I vow to lead the international community for permanent peace,” Fukuda said in a speech.

Nagasaki’s toll from the bomb, nicknamed “Fat Man”, is updated every year by the Japanese government which keeps a record of victims it says die of radiation illness. It added 3,058 names to the list this year, bringing the official death toll to 145,984.

Earlier in the week, the mayor of Hiroshima had criticized countries that refuse to abandon their bombs and vowed to do more to help survivors still suffering the city’s 1945 attack.

Japan has stood by its self-imposed “three non-nuclear principles” banning the possession, production and import of nuclear arms.

(Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Valerie Lee)

Japan marks anniversary of Hiroshima atomic bomb

TOKYO – Tens of thousands bowed their heads at a ceremony in the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Wednesday, the 63rd anniversary of the world’s first atomic attack, as the city’s mayor hit out at countries that refuse to abandon their bombs.

A bell tolled at 8:15 a.m. to mark the exact moment when the bomb dubbed ‘Little Boy’ was dropped on the city, killing tens of thousands immediately and many more later from radiation sickness.

‘We who seek the abolition of nuclear weapons are the majority,’ mayor Tadatoshi Akiba said in a speech at the Peace Memorial Park, attended by the ambassador of nuclear-armed China, as well as Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and elderly survivors of the attack.

‘Last year 170 countries voted in favour of Japan’s U.N. resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Only three countries, the United States among them, opposed this resolution,’ he said.

The United States and other world powers fear Iran is developing nuclear weapons, while Tehran says its atomic programme is for power generation. Washington and others have warned of more sanctions against Tehran, which they accuse of playing for time in the dispute.

The mayor of Hiroshima also vowed to do more to help survivors still suffering the physical and mental after-effects of the 1945 attack by the United States in the final days of World War Two, which was followed a few days later by a nuclear attack on the southern Japanese city of Nagasaki.

The average age of survivors is over 75 and Akiba said he would launch a survey into the emotional damage they suffered.

Fukuda echoed some of Akiba’s sentiments, saying he wanted to take a lead in the campaign against nuclear weapons and try to help as many as possible of those dealing with poor health after being exposed to radiation.

‘We must not repeat such a sad event,’ one mother attending the ceremony told broadcaster NHK. ‘We need to pass that message on to our children’s generation.’

(Reporting by Isabel Reynolds; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Why Did We Drop the Bomb?

Why Did We Drop the Bomb?

In 1945 on August 5th at 8 seconds past 8:16AM the atomic bomb, “The Little Boy”, exploded over Hiroshima , Japan . Fifty-one seconds previously, the bomb was dropped by the B-29 Enola Gay at a height of almost six miles. The explosion occurred at a height of 1,850 feet and created a huge fireball, which possessed for a fraction of a second, the temperature of a million degrees. “The Little Boy” had released the equivalent of 13,500 tons of TNT over the city.

The point of explosion in the air is generally referred to as the epicenter; the point directly below it, on the ground, as the hypocenter. The intense heat of this explosion incinerated virtually everything within a radius of some five hundred yards of the hypocenter. Within a three-hundred-yard radius the heat waves traveled at a speed of around twelve hundred feet per second. Buildings as distant as two miles or more were set ablaze. A thick cloud of smoke mushroomed into the sky to a height of forty thousand feet. The shockwave that followed immediately after the explosion was felt well over a mile away from the hypocenter. Radioactivity within a half mile radius was so intense that almost everyone who managed to survive both the heat and the blast were doomed to eventual death from the effects of radiation. Death for the lucky ones was swift, but for many, the pain lingered for minutes or even days. Some, still a half century later, are suffering and dieing from the painful, cancer causing effects of radiation sickness (Pacific 237).

Even though pre-bomb population information of Hiroshima is not known for sure and the fires that ravaged the city destroyed bodies, most experts estimate the loss of life within that first year after the explosion to be around 140,000. Due to the nature of radiation and its cancer causing effects, over the last half century, that figure has increased to about 200,000 lives. These estimates do not include the deaths of three days later when the atomic bomb “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki ending an estimated 70,000 more lives (Ohba).

The devastation caused by our dropping the bomb on Japan was horrendous. We should never have dropped an atomic bomb on Japan let alone two bombs. The A-bomb should never have been dropped on Japan because: Japan was already beaten, Japan was trying to surrender, and the A-bomb is inhumane.

Japan was already beaten

Approaching the summer of 1945, Japan, already without a navy to speak of and its air force in shambles, really could no longer defend itself. United States bombers could pretty much fly over its mainland carpet bombing any targets it wished with little loss of planes. The United States Strategic Bombing Survey issued this statement in July of 1946:

Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945 and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated. (qtd. in Nuclear)

Japan was in no condition to defend itself let alone make continued war upon its neighbors. Most experts agree that Japan , which was arming its citizens with bamboo spears, would not be able to withstand continued conventional bombing of its infrastructure. Why then did we need to drop the atomic bomb?

Japan was trying to surrender

During the later part of the war, Japan was looking to Russia , to help mediate a surrender agreement with the West. The political structure of Japan at the time of the war left most of the power with the military. Japan ‘s cabinet, through its Foreign Minister Togo , to its ambassador in Russia , clearly stated it wished to discuss surrender. Having broken the Japanese code, the United States was able to clearly see Japan ‘s wish to end the war. Some of the messages intercepted were:

July 18: “Negotiations…necessary…for soliciting Russia ‘s good offices in concluding the war and also in improving the basis for negotiations with England and America .”

July 22: “Special Envoy Konoye’s mission will be in obedience to the Imperial Will. He will request assistance in bringing about an end to the war through the good offices of the Soviet government.”

July 26: “The aim of the Japanese Government with regard to Prince Konoye’s mission is to enlist the good offices of the Soviet Government in order to end the war.” (qtd. Long)

Japan clearly wanted to end its war with the West. Its navy and air force were decimated and its citizens and soldiers were hungry. Japan could have inflicted heavy losses upon an invasion force, but the United States did not need to invade. The bombing and blockade campaigns were doing the work for the Allies. Japan was willing to surrender if its Emperor was left alone. The United States knew this, and Japan knew this, but the United States , when it issued its terms to Japan made no mention of the Emperor’s fate. Japan would not surrender without knowing its emperor’s fate. After the Atomic bomb was dropped, Japan did surrender, and the Emperor was left alone. Experts state that if the United States declaration for unconditional surrender had included a clause proclaiming the fate of the emperor, Japan would have surrendered before the use of the atomic bomb. Why then did we need to drop the atomic bomb?

The A-bomb is inhumane

The use of atomic weapons on cities full of non-combatants is a horrendous action. The United States forever showed to the rest of humanity its overwhelming drive to win at any price. Against international law, it not only bombed cities with conventional weapons (everyone else in the war forgot this provision as well), but also demolished two Japanese cities with the unparalleled power of an atomic weapon.

Death by an atomic weapon is a very messy and painful affair. If you are one of the lucky ones you are incinerated by the blast or killed from the debris of the shockwave instantly. Unlucky ones receive burns ranging from first degree (minor sunburn-like) to fifth degree (destroyed muscle and connective tissue), leaving them suffering in unbearable pain and leaving little resistance to infection. As if this were not enough, nuclear weapons have a secondary killer besides the blast and shockwave. Radiation is released in massive amounts, dancing unseen among the cellular structure of the body. This damage is quite severe, ranging from: nausea, diarrhea, hair loss, and infertility to hemorrhage of the mouth and kidney, destruction of bone marrow, neural disruption, and death. Even years later, survivors, who believed they beat the odds and survived, came down with differing cases of cancer, caused by overexposure to radiation. Killing someone with a gun or bomb is one thing, but making her suffer in pain for days, weeks or years is unfathomable.

Below is a first hand account of the devastation from Ms. Michiko Yamaoka:

When I was rescued, my hair was burned; my face was inflated like a balloon. Though my mother did not say, I knew it. I wondered why my shirt had been burnt and hanging around my arms, I soon realized they were pieces of my skin. It was hell. I saw people looking for water and they died soon after they drank it. I saw many people go to the river in search of water and who died. The whole city was destroyed and burning. (Ohba)

Death and destruction on this scale is unfathomable and irresponsible. Why would any country develop and use such a means to end a war it had pretty much won already? President Truman even believed our country would not abide the genocide of cities, when he spoke to the nation during a radio speech on August 9, 1945 , about the Hiroshima bombing:

The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima , a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians. But that attack is only a warning of things to come. If Japan does not surrender, bombs will have to be dropped on her war industries and, unfortunately, thousands of civilian lives will be lost. I urge Japanese civilians to leave industrial cities immediately, and save themselves from destruction. (National)

Saying this, he knew we had just bombed a heavily populated city, Hiroshima , and had just also bombed Nagasaki , another heavily populated city. Why give warning when you have already dropped two atomic bombs on as many cities? Was Truman just speaking to the American citizens and not giving a warning to the Japanese? Why then did we drop the atomic bomb?

In conclusion, the use of atomic weapons on Japan inflicted a terrible loss of life without need. Brigadier General Carter Clarke, military intelligence officer in charge of preparing intercepted Japanese cables, said it best, “…when we didn’t need to do it, and we knew we didn’t need to do it, we used them as an experiment for two atomic bombs.” (qtd. Long). The United States did use Hiroshima and Nagasaki as experiments to see the effects of a nuclear blast upon a city, and to send the Russian’s a message that the United States had, and would use, nuclear weapons to serve its interests.

In the late twentieth century and creeping into the twenty-first, the United States of America condemns other countries for the slaying of innocent civilians. The United States tells Israel to pull out of the West Bank because of the loss of some civilian lives in their campaign against terror. Why should they? One look at our history shows that when pushed we have, and will use, nuclear weapons. We even used them on a country already beaten by our superior military might. I hope that fifty years without military use of nuclear weapons is a trend, and that they will not be used ever again. Of course, in 1945, the United States had only a few bombs. Today, in countries around the world, the stockpile of nuclear mass destruction totals some 39,000 warheads (Natural). Hopefully, what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki will never happen again.

Works Cited

Long, Doug. Hiroshima : Was it Necessary. Jan. 28 2000

< http://www.doug-long.com/&gt;

Ohba, Mitsuru, John Benson. A-Bomb WWW Museum . 2 July 2000

<http:// http://www.csi.ad.jp/ABOMB/>;

Pacific War Research Society, The Day Man Lost

Tokyo : Kodansha International Ltd. 1972

National Archives and Records Administration. Truman Presidential Museum & Library.

Apr. 11 2002 http://www.trumanlibrary.org

Natural Resources Defense Council. NRDC. Apr. 17 2002

< http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/default.asp&gt;

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Extract from U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey Summary Report.

Apr. 17 2002 <http://www.nuclearfiles.org/docs/1945/45-bomb-survey-x.html >

Japan, Guam notified of radioactive seepage from US sub: navy

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The Pentagon has notified local authorities that trace amounts of radioactivity may have seeped out of a US nuclear missile submarine during a cruise that included stops in Japan and Guam, navy officials said Friday.

An investigation determined that the amount of radioactivity that seeped from a valve was less than half a microcurie, or less than what one would find in a 50-pound bag of lawn fertilizer, a senior US Navy official said.

“Any time there is any discharge or leakage of radioactivity, or radioactive water, no matter how small, we report it to local authorities,” the official said.

Japan and Guam were notified of the discovery on Thursday, the official said.

The seepage was detected on July 17 when a gallon of water that had collected in a pipe connected to the nuclear engineering plant spilled onto a sailor while the submarine was in drydock in Honolulu, Hawaii, the official said.

http://pbtt.wordpress.com/2008/08/02/japan-guam-notified-of-radioactive-seepage-from-us-sub-navy/

Robotic buoy to fight sea pollution

Robotic buoy to fight sea pollution

Posted: 04 Aug 2008 07:30 AM CDT

The good people at Osaka University has come up with a prototype of a robotic buoy that has a very specific and special purpose in life – it is meant to combat sea pollution in the event of large scale environmental disasters the world has known as oil spills. The prototype known as SOTAB (Spilled Oil Tracking Autonomous Buoy) is but a 110kg GPS-equipped robot. It will feature a cylindrical buoy length of 2.7m and a diameter of 27cm, and the whole idea is to have these buoys installed aboard oil tankers, enabling them to be dropped into the sea automatically whenever there is an accident. Unfortunately, oil tankers will have to be a whole lot more vigilant and careful for the next three years (at least) since it will take that amount of time at best to roll out from the laboratory.

Designed by Naomi Kato, professor of submersible robotic engineering at the Department of Naval Architecture at Osaka University, Japan, this buoy is said to “conduct education and research on underwater robotics, biomechanics on aquatic animals and its application to engineering, computational hydrodynamics of viscous flow fields.” Sounds like a whole lot of scientific gibberish, but basically translated into layman’s terms, the robot will be able to keep track of the oil slick whether by day or at night, as it features four very sensitive cameras that are able to look out for the black shadow cast by oil above it (the robot will remain submerged at about 10m), while maintaining this vigilance when the sun has gone down simply by turning on its lights. Data such as speed of the current, water temperature, wind direction and wind velocity along with the help of GPS enables the robot to let humans know just where the oil slick is heading.

Can’t they like, hurry up already? God knows the world needed something like this many years back.

Source: Primidi

Japan, Guam notified of radioactive seepage from US sub: navy

Japan, Guam notified of radioactive seepage from US sub: navy

A US guided missile submarine is docked at a South Korean naval base

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The Pentagon has notified local authorities that trace amounts of radioactivity may have seeped out of a US nuclear missile submarine during a cruise that included stops in Japan and Guam, navy officials said Friday.

An investigation determined that the amount of radioactivity that seeped from a valve was less than half a microcurie, or less than what one would find in a 50-pound bag of lawn fertilizer, a senior US Navy official said.

“Any time there is any discharge or leakage of radioactivity, or radioactive water, no matter how small, we report it to local authorities,” the official said.

Japan and Guam were notified of the discovery on Thursday, the official said.

The seepage was detected on July 17 when a gallon of water that had collected in a pipe connected to the nuclear engineering plant spilled onto a sailor while the submarine was in drydock in Honolulu, Hawaii, the official said.

Tests of the sailor showed no radioactivity, but the incident triggered an investigation that led to a valve inside the pipe that was “weeping at a small rate,” the official said.

The state of Hawaii was notified on July 25, he said.

The official said a review of logs “determined that the weepage may have been occurring as far back as March when the ship was in Sasebo, Japan and late May (to) mid-June when the ship was in Guam.”

“The amount of radiation that was in the water that leaked during those three port visits, is actually less than what you would find in a 50-pound bag of common lawn fertilizer,” the official said.

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