The Nagasaki bombing anniversary passed in Japan with a pledge from officials there — make the world less reliant on nuclear energy.
On Thursday the nation marked the 67th anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped, with close to 6,000 people gathering at a peace park built near the epicenter of the 1945 blast, the Associated Press reported. The group included students and the mayor of one of towns hit hardest by last year’s nuclear disaster.
The Nagasaki bombing anniversary comes at a time when Japan is struggling with the future of its nuclear energy program. After the earthquake and tsunami caused the world’s second nuclear power plant accident last year, there are many concerns about whether the benefits of nuclear energy are worth the risks.
Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue said these risks are more clear now that the world has seen the results of the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, which was crippled by the tsunami last March. He urged the nation to make a commitment toward creating a nuclear-free society and global ban on nuclear weapons.
Taue called on the Japanese central government to “set new energy policy goals to build a society free from the fear of radioactivity,” AFP reported.
“Many people in Fukushima still live in fear of radiation effects,” Taue said.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda used the Nagasaki bombing anniversary to address the call to reduce nuclear power, reiterating a promise he made to roll on a mid- to long-term policy platform that would make all of society less reliant on the energy, the Associated Press reported.
“We will compile an energy structure that would reassure the safety of the people,” he said.
The Nagasaki bombing took place in 1956, part of a three-day period in which the United States also dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. More than 140,000 people were killed in Hiroshima and more than 70,000 died in the Nagasaki bombing.