A-bomb

What if the 1945 Hiroshima bomb had been dropped on Tokyo instead?

On Wednesday of last week, the city of Hiroshima marked the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing. When the bomb detonated in the air above Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, it destroyed the city and killed up to 140,000 people. Almost everything in a one-mile radius of the target site was immediately razed to the ground. On August 9, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing a further estimated 70,000.

Hiroshima was chosen as the primary target for a number of reasons. The US wanted a target city with an urban area of at least three miles diameter. It also had to have been untouched by other air raids, so that the weapon’s impact could be accurately observed. Hiroshima was also thought to be the only potential target city that did not have any Allied prisoner-of-war camps.

But what if the A-bomb had been detonated over Tokyo instead? Or Osaka? Using statistics collated by Dr. Mark A. Carlson at the University of Nebraska, the Japanese Huffington Post has produced this interactive Google map answering just that question.

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Were Syria’s use of chemical weapons and the dropping of the A-bomb the same violation of international law?

On August 21, it was confirmed that chemical weapons were used on civilians in Syria, and it is speculated that the country’s own president, Bashar al Assad, is behind the attacks. The news has sent shockwaves around the world, with US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf commenting, “I think that it’s clear that Syria violated international law here. They used chemical weapons in an indiscriminate manner with respect to civilians.”

Many agree with Ms. Harf’s words, but it is a question that was posed by a Reuters journalist, likening Syria’s actions to that of the United States’ use of atomic weapons during WWII, that has many people in Japan talking.

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