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Hiroshima peace stone in Kazakhstan

August 29, 2015


Kazakhstan welcomes Hiroshima peace stone at antinuclear rally



SEMEY, Kazakhstan (Kyodo) -- Kazakhstan, a strategically important Central Asian country sharing borders with Russia and China, received a stone from the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima from a nonprofit Japanese group on Saturday during an international gathering against nuclear testing.

East Kazakhstan Deputy Gov. Omar Zhaksylyk received the stone, engraved with an image of the Buddhist goddess of mercy, from Michio Umemoto, head of the Stone for Peace Association of Hiroshima, during a ceremony in Semey's peace park attended by several thousand people.

Semey was previously home to the Semipalatinsk test site, where more than 450 nuclear tests were carried out during the Soviet Union-era.

The deputy governor said in accepting the stone that Kazakhs' thoughts are with the Japanese people over the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the 70th anniversary of the wartime devastation. He expressed Kazakhstan's appreciation for Japanese aid for a local rehabilitation center for radiation victims.

Umemoto said in a speech his group appreciates President Nursultan Nazarbayev for agreeing to accept the stone, and expressed hope that solidarity among recipient countries of the stone as a common symbol of peace will be strengthened.

Japanese Ambassador Masayoshi Kamohara, saying Japan and Kazakhstan are close partners for the abolition of nuclear weapons and nuclear nonproliferation, noted that the two countries will co-chair the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in New York in September.

More than 100 countries have so far received or agreed to receive the stones, which also have the English words "From Hiroshima" engraved on them since the start of the donation campaign in 1991.

The granite stones are about 50 centimeters square and weigh about 50 kilograms. They are some of the paving stones for Hiroshima streetcar tracks that were just 200 meters from ground zero.

August 29, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)

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