HIROSHIMA -- Ten of Japan’s sixteen bishops are to arrive here tomorrow. It is not to be a synod. They are gathering Aug. 6 to commemorate humanity’s first use of an atomic bomb in an act of war.
An annual pilgrimage, the bishops will join thousands of others in marking the 66th year since the blast’s utter devastation -- and the first since the March meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following a 9.0 magnitude earthquake.
For Bishop Paul Otsuka of the Kyoto diocese that occasion is something for careful consideration.
Speaking in a letter on behalf of his diocese to the entire Japanese church, Otsuka wrote this month that Japan, “which is the only country in the world to have been attacked with atomic weapons,” now “stands in danger of becoming a country fundamentally damaged because of atomic energy generation.”
That possibility, Otsuka wrote, should cause Japan to use the occasion to “discern whether atomic energy, which threatens mankind and the environment, comes within the acceptable limits of our legitimate use of science and technology.”