Peace groups remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki

 Pax Christi members around the country have marked the 63rd anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945. Among them, day-long vigils on the steps of Westminster Cathedral in Central London; a service in the Chapel of Unity in Coventry Cathedral with readings prayers and poems; a night vigil at Aylesford Priory in Kent; a memorial service in Swinton, Salford and an evening service of prayer in Aigburgh, Liverpool. In London, hundreds of people took leaflets about the anniversaries and others joined with twice daily times of prayer for peace. Ninety people attended the Coventry event where they were addressed by guests form Japan and by the Mayor of Coventry. The event was coordinated by the Lord Mayors Committee for Peace and reconciliation, the Quakers and Pax Christi. Pax Christi vice-president Bruce Kent participated in the memorial service in Hiroshima on the morning of 6 August where he was attending on behalf of CND. The Mayor of Hiroshima, Tadatoshi Akiba issued a Peace Declaration at the ceremony, urging that the citizens of the world pledge to do everything in their power to accomplish the total eradication of nuclear weapons. Pax Christi partner in Japan, Sr Filo Hirota, who works with the Japanese Conference of Bishops, has asked Pax Christi to support the Save Article 9 Campaign. Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution renounces war as a means of settling international disputes and prohibits the maintenance of armed forces and other war potential. Article 9 is an international oath declaring No to War, a shared property of all the world,s citizens who wish for peace. Today, however, the Japanese government is moving towards amending Article 9, partly due to the US demand for full-fledged military support from Japan in its 'war on terror. Despite the restrictions of Article 9, Japan's Self-Defence Forces have gradually expanded over the years, bringing Japan's military expenditure to one of the highest in the world, and they provided support to US military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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