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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 8 - 14  > Tokyo Air Raid survivors call for peace at memorial ceremony
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2017 March 8 - 14 [PEACE]

Tokyo Air Raid survivors call for peace at memorial ceremony

March 10 & 11, 2017
On March 10, the 72nd anniversary of the Great Tokyo Air Raid in which more than 100,000 citizens were killed, a memorial ceremony took place in Tokyo’s Taito Ward with many people participating. Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira attended the ceremony.

On behalf of the organizing committee, Kawasugi Motonobu delivered a speech. “Even though the pacifist Constitution was enacted after World War II, its core principle is now being undermined. We are determined to continue with our activities to protect the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution and hand down a peaceful Japan to the younger generations,” he said.

JCP Koike expressed his resolve to work to create a national program to compensate civilian war victims and their families. He added, “Under the Abe regime, the campaign to turn Japan into a war-fighting nation has gained momentum. In order to prevent innocent civilians from losing their lives in indiscriminate bombings again, let’s work together to defend the peace Constitution.”

A 92-year-old survivor of the aerial strikes, Miyasaka Jun’aki, talked about his experience on that day. “I ran away with three colleagues from my workplace. But soon I got separated from them due to the raging flames and black smoke. That was the last time I saw them. Such a thing should never be allowed to be repeated again,” he said in tears.

Before dawn on March 10, 1945, about 300 U.S. B-29 bombers flew over Tokyo. They dropped an enormous number of napalm bombs on the areas crowded with small factories and wooden houses over a period of three hours, killing more than 100,000 people in that night-time air strike.

* * *

On the day before the 72nd anniversary of the air raid, 1,200 people, including bereaved families, took part in another memorial ceremony held in front of a monumental statue in Ueno, Tokyo.

At the ceremony, essayist Ebina Kayoko, who managed to survive the carpet bombing and later erected the statue of a mother holding a child in arms, gave an address. Children in local kindergartens and elementary and junior high schools sang songs and read poems aloud in memory of the dead.

JCP Secretariat Head Koike attended the gathering and JCP Vice Chair Ichida Tadayoshi sent his message of solidarity to the event.
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