Hiroshima mayor receives reply from U.S. ambassador: plan to designate Manhattan Project sites as national park not “celebratory”

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

The City of Hiroshima announced on January 24 that the city has received a letter from U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos in reply to a letter sent by Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, in which Mr. Matsui requested that the United States re-think its plan for the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. In the reply, Mr. Roos said that he expects the park to serve “as an educational and commemorative facility” and “the commemoration of wartime activities is reflective, rather than celebratory.”

An official of Hiroshima City’s Peace Promotion Division commented that although the response indicated that the park project was not designed to show praise for the atomic bomb, the city will continue to observe future developments.

On December 2, 2011 Mr. Matsui sent a letter of request, expressing his concern that “such a park would communicate an erroneous and dangerous message to future generations.”

The reply was delivered on January 23. It seeks understanding over the issue, saying, “As we look toward the future and a world without nuclear weapons, it is fitting to remember that era through the lens of history, which the proposed park aims to achieve.” Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue has also received a letter from the ambassador.

The law regarding the establishment of the park was enacted in 2004. The recommendation has been made to the U.S. Congress that the following three sites involved in developing the atomic bombs be included in the Manhattan Project National Historical Park: Los Alamos, New Mexico; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and Hanford, Washington.

(Originally published on January 25, 2012)