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Students Produce Virtual Reality Experience of Hiroshima Bombings

08 August, 2018, 19:01 | Author: Tara Roberts
  • Hiroshima remembers atomic bomb victims

Mayor Kazumi Matsui opened his peace address by describing the hellish scene of the blast that morning 73 years ago and the agony of the victims, telling the audience to listen "as if you and your loved ones were there".

There were serious concerns over using the atomic bomb before it was first deployed at Hiroshima.

"Certain countries are blatantly proclaiming self-centred nationalism and modernising their nuclear arsenals, rekindling tensions that had eased with the end of the Cold War", Matsui said, without identifying the nations.

Matsui called nuclear deterrents and umbrellas "inherently unstable and extremely dangerous" approaches that seek to maintain global order by only generating fear in rival countries.

The attack on Hiroshima, 700 kilometres west of Tokyo, in the closing days of World War II ushered in the nuclear age.

Emergency workers clearing up after the recent floods at Hiroshima mark a minute's silence during the anniversary of the atomic bombing.

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However, Japan has not become a signatory to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which came into effect in July 2017.

Matsui's call however highlighted Japan's contradictory relationship with nuclear weapons although Japanese officials routinely argue that they oppose atomic weapons. Over two years, the group of Japanese high school students has been painstakingly producing a five-minute virtual reality experience that recreates the sights and sounds of Hiroshima before, during and after the USA dropped an atomic bomb on the city 73 years ago.

For years, Japan has relied on US deterrence and did not sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that referred to the suffering of hibakusha, or atomic bomb survivors.

In Friday, Aug. 8, 2018, photo, Namio Matsura, 17-year-old member of the computation skill research club at the Fukuyama Technical High School, watches Hiroshima city before atomic bomb fell in virtual reality experience at the high school in Hiroshima, western Japan.

And less than two months ago, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to the "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" during their summit in Singapore, though the deal has been criticized for lacking detail. "We in civil society fervently hope that the easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula will proceed through peaceable dialogue", Matsui said.

For example, the Imperial Japanese Army's notorious Unit 731, which was based in the Pingfang district of Harbin, the largest city then in northeast China, was set up around 1936 and conducted vivisection experiments on live human beings to test germ-releasing bombs and chemical bombs, among other criminal atrocities.

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