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70% want 'noisy' rally restricted during Hiroshima A-bomb ceremony

Nearly 70 percent of Hiroshima citizens who had attended or seen on TV annual ceremonies to mark the wartime U.S. atomic bombing of the city said shouts by demonstrators from just outside the venue should be restricted by an ordinance, a survey showed Monday.
About 60 percent of the 1,090 local residents attending or seeing the events to commemorate the 1945 bombing on Aug. 6 over the past five years said they thought demonstrators' shouts using loudspeakers were "noisy," according to the survey conducted by the Hiroshima city government on 3,000 citizens.
Since early in the morning on the anniversary day, many antiwar civic groups yell slogans such as those calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons and criticizing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for being negative toward nuclear disarmament.
Demonstrators have reacted against the possible restriction on their activity, saying it would be "suppression of speech."
In the survey, some 14 percent said the city should not go so far as to regulate them but should "only request" that they turn down the volume and change the locations while the ceremony is held -- steps already taken before to no avail.
The outcome of the questionnaire sent late last year to randomly selected citizens was released after Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said Tuesday he will consider drafting an ordinance to deal with the issue in the run-up to next year's 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing.
The city said rally organizers have ignored its demand to turn down the volume and move to other locations for the past seven years.
Of the 3,000, 41 percent provided valid responses. About 7 percent of such respondents were atomic bomb survivors and around 36 percent were family members of bombing victims.
In a separate survey of the city covering five atomic bomb survivor groups in Hiroshima Prefecture, one group said there is a need to establish an ordinance for restriction, three said it should only make requests, and one objected to the envisioned ordinance.
Matsui plans to conduct another survey targeting attendees at this summer's ceremony regarding the volume of loudspeakers, as well as to measure the noise level at the venue.
Every year, the ceremony starts at 8 a.m. at the Peace Memorial Park, where participants observe a moment of silence at 8:15 a.m., when the "Little Boy" uranium-core atomic bomb dropped by a U.S. bomber exploded above Hiroshima on Aug 6, 1945. It killed an estimated 140,000 people by the end of that year, according to the city office.


© KYODO
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