Japan PM's near-identical speeches in Hiroshima and Nagasaki spark anger

WION Web Team New Delhi Aug 12, 2020, 04.53 PM(IST)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pays tribute Photograph:( Reuters )

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A plagiarism detection app found that Abe’s speech in Nagasaki on Sunday duplicated 93% of a speech he had delivered in Hiroshima three days earlier, a major newspaper in Japan Mainichi Shimbun reported.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been accused of delivering two near-identical speeches to mark the anniversaries of the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

A plagiarism detection app found that Abe’s speech in Nagasaki on Sunday duplicated 93% of a speech he had delivered in Hiroshima three days earlier, a major newspaper in Japan Mainichi Shimbun reported.

The English-language versions of the speeches on Abe’s official website also show a high degree of duplication, according to The Guardian.

The opening paragraph mentions each city’s name, and continues: “I reverently express my sincere condolences to the souls of the great number of atomic bomb victims. I also extend my heartfelt sympathy to those still suffering even now from the after-effects of the atomic bomb.” Aside from the ceremony titles, the passages match word for word.

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Abe did, however, use different wording when referring to how each city had rebuilt in the years after Japan’s wartime defeat.

An estimated 140,000 people died immediately and in the months after the Hiroshima bombing on 6 August 1945, while 74,000 died during and after the attack on Nagasaki three days later.

Apart from the cities’ names, the statements’ closing paragraphs used the same wording, with Abe voicing hope for a world “without nuclear weapons”.

Also read: 'Unspeakable horror': The tale of attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The apparent decision not to tailor the statements to each city’s experience angered survivors of the bombings, who are known as hibakusha, the Guardian report added.

“It’s the same every year,” Koichi Kawano, head of a hibakusha liaison council in Nagasaki, told the Mainichi Shimbun. “He talks gibberish and leaves, as if to say, ‘There you go. Goodbye.’ He just changed the word ‘Hiroshima’ to ‘Nagasaki.’ He’s looking down on A-bomb survivors.”