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‘Hibakusha’ talks scrapped after Nagasaki bomb threat


NAGASAKI–A bomb threat against schools in Nagasaki Prefecture prompted the cancellation of peace-promotion events featuring “hibakusha” atomic bomb survivors sharing their horrific experiences in World War II.

We decided to call off an event, giving top priority to the safety of participants,” said an official with the Kita-Kyushu municipal government in Fukuoka Prefecture, also on the southern main island of Kyushu.

An e-mail sent in late July to the Nagasaki prefectural government said elementary and junior high schools would be blown up on Aug. 10 or Aug. 11. No reason was given for the threat.

The Kita-Kyushu government had organized a one-day bus tour to Nagasaki for 270 elementary and junior high school students, as well as their parents, as part of a peace-promotion program.

The initial itinerary included a visit to Shiroyama Elementary School to listen to the accounts of hibakusha on Aug. 9, the 71st anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city.

The school is near ground zero, and many of its students and teachers were killed in the blast on Aug. 9, 1945.

But tour organizers dropped the visit to the school from the schedule after Shiroyama Elementary School had informed them of the bomb threat.

The scrapped visit to the school gave the tour participants more time to spend at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and the site of the hypocenter. In the morning, they visited a civic hall in Nagasaki to watch a live broadcast of a ceremony for atomic bomb victims held at Nagasaki Peace Park.

A group of 15 students ranging from elementary to high school age, also from Kita-Kyushu, canceled an event to hear the atomic bomb survivors’ accounts scheduled for Aug. 10 at Shiroyama Elementary School and elsewhere in light of the bomb threat.

The group visited Nagasaki from Aug. 8 to take part in a peace forum for young people.

The Nagasaki prefectural board of education had urged elementary and junior high schools to refrain from activities on Aug. 10-11. Those days passed without incident in the city.

August 20, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment