International News

Japan Marks Atomic Bombing Anniversary

Prayer for peace on 70th anniversary of Hiroshima bombing. (Photo by Paul Jeffrey)(Photo by Paul Jeffrey)
Prayer for peace 70 years after Hiroshima bombing. (Photo by Paul Jeffrey)

A woman sets a floating candle lantern on the river in Hiroshima, Japan, Aug. 6. The lanterns, thousands of which were launched on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city, bear handmade messages and drawings, conveying each person’s prayers for peace and comfort for the victims of the violence. In the background are the ruins of a building damaged by the bomb and now converted into a peace memorial.

Among the visitors to Hiroshima was Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was the bishop’s first visit to Japan, and he said he was moved by what he saw and heard from Japanese Catholics, who have been adamant in demanding an end to nuclear weapons. He also traveled to Nagasaki, the second Japanese city on which the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb.

“It’s important for an American delegation to be here with the Japanese in this moment, because we celebrate the efforts they have made for peace, and we stand in solidarity with them. They are part of a church that around the world has spoken against the proliferation of nuclear weapons, a message that here is directed particularly at the United States,” Bishop Cantu told Catholic News Service. “So although our countries were enemies 70 years ago, we have become allies in this effort.”

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