Hiroshima marks 70 years since atomic bombing while China accuses Japan of not reflecting its past

An original version of this article appeared in Hong Kong Free Press on August 6, 2015:

Japan commemorated the 70th anniversary of the US’s atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Thursday amid Chinese state media accusations that the country was not reflecting on its past.

Residents of Hiroshima were seen coming together to remember the historical day at the city’s Peace Memorial Park on Thursday, August 6, exactly 70 years after the bombing took place. Representatives from foreign countries were also present at the memorial.

Primary school students’ written messages at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. Photo: Donna Sarte, via Facebook.

The bombings, which killed up to 100,000 people in the city, happened on August 6, 1945 during the final stage of World War II. The US dropped a uranium atomic bomb on the city after Imperial Japan refused to unconditionally surrender to the Allied Forces. The US later decided to drop another atomic bomb on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, which also killed tens of thousands of people.

Atomic bombing of Hiroshima (left) and Nagasaki (right) during World War II. Photo: WikiMedia.

Chinese state media accuses Japan of not reflecting on its past However, on the same day, Chinese state-run media outlet huanqiu.com criticised Japan for only emphasising the suffering of Japanese citizens. It said the country “almost did not reflect on the reasons behind why Japan was hit by an atomic bomb,” and accused it of downplaying its role as the culprit of World War II. It also slammed Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe for ignoring the historical lesson, and criticised his attempt to amend the country’s post-World War II provision and possess a full military.

Incumbent Japanese prime ministry Shinzo Abe. Photo: Xinhua.

In July, Abe said the amendment would allow the Japanese military to assist its allies in overseas combat actions, adding that it did not violate the principles of “Peace Constitution” put in place after the war. Internet users also weighed in on the anniversary on Twitter using the hashtag #Hiroshima. One internet user said he believed Henry Truman, then-US president, was right in authorising the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Another paid tribute to the victims of the atomic bomb.

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