Japan will observe its annual Ten Days of Peace on August 6 to 15 with the theme “Protecting all life creates peace.” The initiative is in remembrance of the victims of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki twin bombings in 1945.
Ten Days of Peace was established by Japanese bishops to remember all the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, which happened on August 6 and 9, respectively. It was created after Pope John Paul II released his Appeal for Peace at Hiroshima ahead of his Apostolic Journey to Japan in January 1981.
Since then, Ten Days for Peace has been observed annually by the Catholic Church in Japan through 10 days of prayer. (Read: Pope Appeals for Peace and Reconciliation in Eastern Ukraine)
Threat of nuclear wars present
According to Bishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Japan (CBCJ), this year’s theme is inspired by Pope Francis’s motto during his 2019 Apostolic Journey to Japan which “underlining the connection between that tragedy and the ongoing threat of nuclear war which is still present today.”
“Now, in addition to armed conflicts and refugee issues around the world, the conflict between the United States and China, also known as the “new Cold War,” is having a considerable negative impact on the stability of the international community and the fields of politics and economy,” Bishop Takami said in a message. (Read: 5 Unique Japanese Principles That Everyone Should Follow)
He added that despite the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) taking effect in January this year, many countries have yet to ratify it–including Japan. “I think Japan, the only country that has been bombed, should ratify it first,” the bishop said.
Those who will be joining Ten Days for Peace this year will also be praying for the solidarity of people around the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Bishop Takami, more developed countries must support to poorer countries to “deepen mutual trust as brothers and sisters.”
Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings
In 1945, two atomic bombs went off in Japan–one in Nagasaki and another in Hiroshima. Both bombs were set off by the United States during the final year of the second World War. The bombs, called ‘Fat Man’ and ‘Little Boy’, effectively killed 129,000 and 226,000 people.
Everyone living in a one-kilometer radius from the epicenter of the bombing were exposed to harmful amounts of radiation and died soon after it.
Months following the bombing, people continued to die because of the radiation, burns, and injuries caused by it, compounded by illnesses and malnutrition. (Read: Pope Francis Urges Catholics to Pray for Peace in Middle East)
The current level of radiation in these areas are no longer enough to affect a human body and is just similar to the extremely low radioactive levels anywhere in the world.