Japan's defense minister said Saturday that the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States during World War II was an inevitable way to end the war, drawing criticism from atomic bomb survivors.
"I understand that the bombing ended the war, and I think that it couldn't be helped," Kyuma said in a speech at a university in Chiba, just east of Tokyo.
The United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki near the end of World War II, in the world's only nuclear attacks.
Kyuma, who is from Nagasaki, said the bombing caused great suffering in the city. Part of his speech was aired by public broadcaster NHK.
He also said he did not resent the U.S. because the bombs prevented the Soviet Union from entering the war with Japan, according to Kyodo News agency.
In time of total war, a government that has a weapon that offers the hope of ending the conflict abruptly is irresponsible not to use it. The use of the A-bomb likely saved the lives of tens of thousands of Japanese civilians, compared to the campaigns of conventional and incendiary bombings that would have been necessary instead. The Japanese defense minister merely acknowledges this imperative, without