A message of peace from Japan
I was born and raised in Hiroshima, so I always find myself praying for peace on August 6, no matter how far I am from Hiroshima.
Before I came to Dhaka last September as ambassador of Japan, many Japanese friends and colleagues who had special bonds with Bangladesh told me that quite a lot of Bangladeshi people knew about the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and some Bangladeshi organizations held memorial events every year on the day of tragedies.
The facts deeply impressed me and made me very grateful to the people of Bangladesh for their sympathy and strong wish for peace. I was already proud to serve as a diplomat in such a country, even before arriving at Bangladesh.
Many people in Hiroshima have one or two of their family members, relatives, or friends, whose lives were fatally affected by the atomic bomb and the war, and my uncle is not an exception.
My uncle was only six years old on August 6, 1945. He and his school friends were out of town for a school trip when an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
That school trip saved his life, but he could not go back to his own home as the whole city was burned and destroyed.
My uncle and his school friends were sent to a nearby temple, hoping for their families to come and pick them up.
Their families came one after another, and finally only two students were left. My uncle, after many years, told me that he cannot forget the sunset he saw from the empty temple, and how lonely he was while watching it.
When he almost lost hope, his father finally came to the temple to pick him up. His father was working outside of the city at that time, and it took many days for him to return to Hiroshima and find his son.
This is how the family of only two, my uncle and his father, started to live together after the war. My uncle, who later got married and was blessed with two children, had a special family rule: Whenever a family member goes out, other family members shall see him or her off with a big smile, as it could be the last time for them to see each other.
On August 6, many people set afloat lanterns in Ohta River in Hiroshima City, because a lot of people who were burned in the heat and flame caused by the atomic bombing rushed into the river and died in the water.
We offer lanterns to console those victims. I am grateful to the many Bangladeshi people who join us and pray for peace.
Despite such a tragedy, I believe that people in Hiroshima do not have negative feelings toward the people of the country which dropped the atomic bomb. We witnessed an overwhelming welcome for Mr Barack Obama, then-president of the United States to visit Hiroshima and lay flowers for the victims of the atomic bomb in 2016. I personally believe that Hiroshima has sublimated the tragedy and has made it a peace-loving city.
This year marks the 73rd anniversary since the end of World War II, and the memories and messages of those who suffered from the atomic bombing have been lost and gradually forgotten over the course of time.
I truly appreciate Bangladeshi people who show sympathy to the victims and express strong messages for peace.
I hope that we, Japan and Bangladesh, stand hand-in-hand to make this world more peaceful and harmonious.
Hiroyasu Izumi is the Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh.