At Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park, where Friday's ceremony was held, some visitors expressed concerns that Japan's view of the bombing — seen by many as excessive use of deadly force — conflicts with America's view.The history is pretty clear. Japan defended numerous islands in the South Pacific to the last man with fanatical determination. Garrisons did not surrender; garrisons fought for months after the battles for control of the islands were lost, continually popping up from holes solely to cause grievous American casualties. The forces assembling for the invasion of Japan were not coming together because the war was nearly over; in fact, the Japanese were defiantly trying to hold on, knowing an invasion of the Japanese mainland would allow for a bloodbath that would force the Americans to rethink just how many casualties they could suffer before giving up their efforts to defeat Japan's rapidly collapsing military.
Katsuko Nishibe, a 61-year-old peace activist, said she welcomed the decision to send Roos, but added that she thought it was dangerous to think that the bombing of Hiroshima was justified.
"I don't think it was necessary," she said. "We have a very different interpretation of history. But we can disagree about history and still agree that peace is what is important. That is the real lesson of Hiroshima."
The number of survivors able to attend the ceremony is steadily falling as more die of old age.
According to Japan's Kyodo news agency, the average age of the survivors is over 76 years, and the number of certified survivors has fallen to 227,565 from a peak of 370,000.
The only other point that I would make is that had the Atomic bomb been dropped on the Imperial Palace of the Emperor, the course of the war would have been much different. A complete and utter decapitation of the leadership and government of the Japanese people would have incited the population to fight until annihilation.
No one should celebrate the deaths of civilians in war but I hasten to point out the terrible pattern of systematic genocides carried out under Japanese instruction throughout the occupied territories of China, Korea, and elsewhere. And no serious student of history would conclude that, had Japan invented an Atomic bomb of its own that it would have applied "humanistic, ethical, or moral" concerns to its use. Japan would have tied the damned thing to the underside of a balloon and would have floated the thing towards the West Coast of the United States without question.