Gauck pays respects to Nagasaki victims | News | DW | 18.11.2016
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Gauck pays respects to Nagasaki victims

German President Joachim Gauck has wrapped up his diplomatic trip to Japan by laying a wreath to honor nuclear blast victims in Nagasaki. The 1945 tragedy was 'unnecessary' and serves as a warning for our time, he said.

Gauck met with the survivors of the nuclear blast and visited the Nagasaki Peace Park on Friday, the fifth and final day of his Japanese visit.

"On a day like that, we are confronted by a whole world of suffering and terror and abuse," said the German president. However, the suffering continues to this day, he added.

"In other countries, people are still burning as they once did right here, and human dignity is trampled on," Gauck added.

Destruction as warning

The atomic bombing of Nagasaki at the closing of the World War II killed 70,000 people immediately, with radiation claiming at least 100,000 in the aftermath. The US forces attacked the coastal city only three days after an even more devastating attack on Hiroshima.

According to the German president, the blast in Nagasaki was "completely unnecessary." The president added that the brutal atomic destruction presents a warning for people today.

"Even a democracy is capable of such things," he said.

Gauck, who is set to turn 77 next January, also visited a monument to the 26 Christian martyrs who were crucified in 16th century Nagasaki.  During previous days, the statesman met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Emperor Akihito.

The trip was Gauck's first and likely last state visit to Japan, as he is expected to retire early next year.

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