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Hundreds pray for peace in Ukraine at Hiroshima A-bomb Dome

HIROSHIMA -- Some 750 people gathered in front of Hiroshima's Atomic Bomb Dome on April 10 to call for peace in Ukraine, expressing their anti-war and anti-nuclear weapons stance against Russia, saying, "Nothing can be solved through war."

    The rally was organized by the Hiroshima young voters' association learning about nuclear policy (Kakuwaka Hiroshima). Participants held up signs in blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian national flag, on which they wrote such messages as "No War" and "No More Hiroshima, No More Nagasaki" in English and Russian.

    Participants pray for peace in Ukraine in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima's Naka Ward as they call for no wars and a ban on the use of nuclear weapons, on April 10, 2022. (Mainichi/Kana Nemoto)

    After observing a moment of silence at 11:02 a.m., the time the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, the participants turned to the hypocenter site of the A-bombing of Hiroshima and prayed for no more nuclear weapons.

    Participants then took turns to deliver their messages. Toshiyuki Mimaki, 80, director-general of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations, said, "Hibakusha (A-bomb survivors) speak out on the horrors of nuclear weapons all year round, but I don't think the messages have reached politicians around the world."

    Kunihiko Sakuma, 77, chairman of a separate A-bomb survivors' organization based in Hiroshima Prefecture which shares the name with the abovementioned group, stated emphatically, "We must never allow a war that does not value the most precious thing of all, life."

    Participants observe a moment of silence in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima's Naka Ward to pray for peace in Ukraine, on April 10, 2022. (Mainichi/Kana Nemoto)

    Koichi Hiraishi, 16, whose mother is from Ukraine and grandmother has roots in Russia, said, "I want the war to end as quickly as possible. I think that sending messages from Hiroshima will give people emotional support. We must not set a precedent of a country being taken away from its people in this day and age."

    The video of the rally and participants' messages, filmed with a drone and other equipment, will be edited into a 5-minute clip with English and Russian subtitles, which will soon be available on social media and other sites.

    Miho Tanaka, 27, co-chairperson of Kakuwaka Hiroshima, said, "We want to send our voices against nuclear weapons to the world, along with the sorrow imposed upon the victims of the atomic bombings."

    (Japanese original by Kana Nemoto, Hiroshima Bureau; Video provided by Kakuwaka Hiroshima)

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