US Ran Tests Before WWII Bombings: Researchers

30 Dec

OSAKA: Atomic bombs played a key role in ending the World War II but they also left two Japanese cities — Hiroshima and Nagasaki — in ruin.

It's been recently unveiled that the Americans had conducted tests prior to the attacks.

On Aug 6, 1945, a uranium type bomb destroyed the city of Hiroshima and killed 140,000 people.

Three days later, a plutonium type called “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki, taking the lives of 74,000

What came to light decades later was that the US had conducted tests prior to the actual bombings.

A group of civil researchers discovered at the National Diet Library in 1991, documents which stipulated the US dropped 50 test a-bombs throughout Japan.

Later, a Kansai University professor confirmed one of them was dropped in Tanabe in Osaka. And the bomb used was exactly like the one dropped in Nagasaki, except it was a conventional bomb.

Test a-bomb witness Kyoko Uda claims to have seen the bomb being dropped on the morning of July 26, 1945.

“Our neighbours, with the air raid siren going off, started to come out. I came out with my mother. Then I heard someone saying, it's only one aircraft, so it should be okay,” she said.

“But then… I saw a 10 centimetre light falling. Then everyone said, it's dropped a bomb. My mother pushed me down.”

Ms Uda was five years old at the time.

She recalls part of her home being reduced to rubble.

She and other local residents thought it was a one-ton bomb that the American had dropped.

But when they found out it was in fact a five-ton bomb, they decided to take action.

Tanabe Test Nuclear Bomb Memorial Committee head Naoki Yoshimura said: “The tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is related to us.

“So we thought we should (let) the people in this area should know. That's why we decided to act and promote it”.

Ms Uda's school, which stands in tact today, was wrecked from the bombing.

Casualties were limited to seven while 73 were injured and 1,645 people lost their homes.

Today, there're hardly any signs of the bombing left, except a temple.

“There's some distance to the site of the blast. But due to the explosion, it's slanted. And if you go inside the main temple, you'd find the floors slightly warped,” Mr Yoshimura said.

A monument has been erected in March 2001 in the temple, just across from the centre of the blast, in the hope of promoting a world without war.

-CNA/wk

Channel News Asia

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