During World War II, Japan launched thousands of these 30-foot tall, hydrogen-filled balloons. They were carried by the jet stream across the Pacific to the United States. Each balloon carried five bombs, designed to set fires and kill. It was the world’s first intercontinental weapon system.
“I fought the war from the cockpit of a Zero, and can still remember the faces of those I killed,” said Mr. Harada, who said he was able to meet and befriend some of his foes who survived the war. “They were fathers and sons, too. I didn’t hate them or even know them.”
“That is how war robs you of your humanity,” he added, “by putting you in a situation where you must either kill perfect strangers or be killed by them.”