Japan's nuclear clock is 10 minutes out

Click to follow
The Independent Online

For 55 years, it has borne witness to the precise hour and minute Nagasaki was flattened by an American A-bomb. But new evidence suggests that the stopped clock on display in the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum may have the time completely wrong.

For 55 years, it has borne witness to the precise hour and minute Nagasaki was flattened by an American A-bomb. But new evidence suggests that the stopped clock on display in the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum may have the time completely wrong.

Meteorological records from 9 August 1945, the day of the bombing, suggest the United States may have dropped thebomb on Nagasaki about 10 minutes earlier than was thought. Kyodo News cited a senior official of the Nagasaki Marine Observatory as saying that, judging by a sudden leap in air pressure recorded by an observatory three miles south of ground zero, the bomb probably went off at 10.52am, not 11.02 as the clock attests.

The US seized the meteorological records after the Second World War and only returned them in 1976, the newspaper said. The finding contradicts an official statement filed immediately after the bombing by the governor of Nagasaki, Wakamatsu Nagano, who gave 11.02am as the time of the explosion. It also flies in the face of the evidence presented by the clock. Its hands are clearly frozen at just past 11.

With the exception of 8.15am, the instant the atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, no other moment is etched more vividly in the Japanese psyche than 11.02am. Every year on 9 August, many in Nagasaki and elsewhere in Japan pause at that time to remember the victims. Out of a population of 240,000 the Nagasaki bomb, nicknamed "Fatman", killed 73,000 people.

Comments