Atomic Bomb Victims Address Worldwide Conference of Mayors
HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) _ Atomic bomb victims recounted their suffering Monday and told a worldwide conference of mayors that their testimony of the devastation was the main deterrent to future nuclear warfare.
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the first atomic attack, the hibakusha - or A-bomb survivors - told mayors from 62 cities how on Aug. 6, 1945, the bomb called Little Boy wrought the most destruction of any weapon in history.
″Only if people in the world hear our experience and speak heart-to-heart will nuclear war never occur again,″ said Michiko Yamaoka, 55, after describing the attack that killed from 78,000 to 140,000 people in Hiroshima.
Anne Rudin, mayor of Sacramento, Calif., said, ″The voices from these suffering people makes the Hiroshima story so real and puts it right up against the abstractions leaders use to justify nuclear weaponry.″
She is one of the 134 delegates at the weeklong First World Conference of Mayors for Peace through International Solidarity.
″The days of ‘Let’s go to war, chaps’ are over,″ said Lord Mayor William McKernan of Coventry, England. ″All war is evil, but nuclear war is an offense to God and man.″
City Councilman Larry Agran of Irvine, Calif., said city officials must peacefully solve political conflict and show world leaders the senselessness of resolving international disputes by force.
Agran, a former mayor of Irvine, founded a group that has organized officials in about 350 cities in California and Iowa in a campaign for peace. Their aim is to pressure U.S. leaders to divert dollars from the nuclear arsenal to economic development.
″Hiroshima and Nagasaki ... tell us what mutual assured destruction (the theory of deterrence) really means: the multiplication of horror beyond our minds’ ability to comprehend - until we come here,″ said Soedjatmoko, president of the Tokyo-based United Nations University, in an opening address to the conference.
The mayors were here to join Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone and thousands of others Tuesday at the Peace Memorial Ceremony near Ground Zero, site of the atomic blast at the close of World War II.
Police buses filled parking lots where busloads of Japanese schoolchildren usually begin their tour of Peace Memorial Park and its graphic museum for their ″peace education.″
Riot police marched in close ranks through the park, passing 25 children ranging from 6 to 16 years old from San Francisco, who lit a six-foot candle as part of a tour sponsored by the Children as Teachers of Peace Foundaton.
Following are some of the U.S. participants in the mayors’ conference.
Mayor Charlotte F. Townsend, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif.; Mayor Dante K. Carpenter, Hilo, Hawaii; Michael Shuman of Palo Alto, Calif.; Mayor Virginia L. Fanelli, Saratoga, Calif.; William M. Evan, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; and Mayor Sam Abott, Tacoma Park, Md.