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Hiroshima 'peace clock' reset to 49 days following US nuclear test

This Nov. 3, 2020 photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter shows the area surrounding the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in the city's Naka Ward. (Mainichi/Takao Kitamura)

HIROSHIMA -- A clock located in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in this western Japan city was reset from 705 to 49, indicating the number of days that have passed since the latest nuclear test took place -- a subcritical one carried out by the United States in November 2020.

    The adjustment was made on Jan. 18, after it was revealed in a U.S. national laboratory document that a subcritical nuclear experiment was held in November under the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. The "Chikyu Heiwa Kanshi Dokei (Peace Watch Tower)" had previously displayed the number "705" to mark the number of days that had passed since the subcritical nuclear experiment conducted by the U.S. in February 2019. As the exact date of the latest test in November is unknown, the clock is currently set at "49 days," under the assumption that the nuclear test was held on the last day of the month.

    On Jan. 17, the Hiroshima Municipal Government sent a letter of protest addressed to President Trump to the U.S. Embassy in Japan. On the following day, some 35 people, including hibakusha, or A-bomb survivors, gathered at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in the city's Naka Ward, which includes the peace memorial museum, and staged a sit-in protest.

    President-elect Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, issued a statement vowing to "work to bring us closer to a world without nuclear weapons," on Aug. 6, 2020, which marked the 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

    (Japanese original by Isamu Gari, Hiroshima Bureau)

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