Japan observes Hiroshima bombing anniversary

August 06, 2014 08:45 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:27 pm IST - TOKYO

People pray for the atomic bomb victims at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, western Japan on Wednesday.

People pray for the atomic bomb victims at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, western Japan on Wednesday.

Japan marked the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Wednesday, as Mayor Kazumi Matsui called on U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders to visit the city to see the scars of the atomic bombing first hand.

About 45,000 people stood for a minute of silence at the ceremony in Hiroshima’s peace park near the epicentre of the 1945 attack that killed up to 140,000 people. A second bombing, over Nagasaki three days later, killed another 70,000, prompting Japan’s surrender in World War II.

Mr. Matsui invited world leaders to Hiroshima, referring to a proposal made at a ministerial meeting in April of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative in Hiroshima, calling on them to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“President Obama and all leaders of nuclear-armed nations please respond to that call by visiting the A-bombed cities as soon as possible to see what happened with your own eyes,” Mr. Matsui said. “If you do, you will be convinced that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil that must no longer be allowed to exist.”

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, among dignitaries attending the event, said that as the sole country to have suffered nuclear attacks, Japan has the duty to seek to eliminate nuclear weapons.

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