Hiroshima University Memorial Service Address for the Victims of the Atomic Bomb (6th August 2023)
Atomic Bomb Day has come around again. On behalf of Hiroshima University, I would like to mourn the souls of the victims of the atomic bombing.
Under the Infectious Disease Act, the classification of COVID-19 has been downgraded from being a ‘Class 2’ infectious disease that is in the same category as tuberculosis, to being a ‘Class 5’ infectious disease that is in the same category as influenza. Be that as it may, cases of infection have not completely subsided yet. In addition, this summer is unusually hot and there are concerns about heat stroke. So, this event is held in a way that gives due consideration to the health and safety of the bereaved families and related parties.
We recently added the names of 20 individuals, whose identities have been confirmed in the last 12 months, to the registry of the ‘Hiroshima University Cenotaph for the Victims of the Atomic Bomb.’ This resulted in us presenting a registry of 2,080 people in total.
Seventy-eight years ago, many of the buildings of our nine predecessor schools, including Hiroshima University of Literature and Science (the origin of Hiroshima University) suffered devastating damage or were completely burned down. Many precious lives of students, and faculty and administrative members, were lost, and some were badly injured inside the school buildings or on labor mobilization sites. Among them were international students from China, Mongolia, and Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia and Indonesia.
As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the university in 2024, we have once again tried to identify the whereabouts of the international students who passed away due to the atomic bombing by contacting everybody who had a connection with them, and by delving into the historical archives. As a result, Hiroshima University has been able to confirm the whereabouts of 17 international students. Among them, we added the names of two Chinese students and six students from Southeast Asia who had previously not been listed in the ‘Hiroshima University Cenotaph for the Victims of the Atomic Bomb’ registry for dedication, along with twelve individuals from Hiroshima University in Japan.
In principle, only the bereaved families of deceased victims are allowed to apply for the Hiroshima City’s Registry of the Names of the Atomic Bomb Victims. However, when Hiroshima University made the application on behalf of the bereaved families, the city accepted it. This is the first case in which a university has applied on behalf of bereaved families.
At the G7 Hiroshima Summit held in May, I strongly believe that the leaders of various countries, including nuclear-armed countries, were able to feel firsthand the horror and devastation of nuclear weapons by visiting Hiroshima. In line with the holding of the first G7 Summit held in the A-bombed city, Hiroshima University has supported and organized relevant events such as the Symposium for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World and the Hiroshima G7 Youth Summit. I am convinced that these events provided a good opportunity for students, who will lead the next generation, to think about peace once again and take action.
As President of Hiroshima University, I will continue to ask myself into the future what I can do for peace, so that the university can actively take initiatives to achieve a free and peaceful international society and to make contributions towards the happiness of humanity. I would like to conclude my memorial address by pledging that Hiroshima University will continue to pursue its mission as a ‘peace-pursuing university’ even a hundred years from now.
6th August Reiwa 5 (2023)
President of Hiroshima University