Japan calls for abolishment of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima anniversary

On Thursday, Japan marked the 70th anniversary of the attack on its western city, calling for a nuclear weapon-free world.

Toru Hanai/Reuters
Doves fly over the Peace Memorial Park with the Atomic Bomb Dome (C) in the background, at a ceremony in Hiroshima, western Japan, August 6, 2015, on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city.

As Japan commemorated the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mayor Kazumi Matsui called on world leaders to step up efforts toward world peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons.

In a peace declaration read in a memorial service at Peace Memorial Park, Mayor Matsui remembered the attack's victims and called on world leaders to abolish the atomic bomb.

"Japan is the only country in the world that has suffered atomic bombing in war. It is our mission to convey to the world and to the coming generations the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons," Prime Minister Abe said in his address.

US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, Rose Gottemoeller, the US State Department’s undersecretary for arms control and international security and representatives from more than 100 countries, including Britain, France, and Russia, attended the ceremony.

It's estimated that between 66,000 and 150,000 people were killed after the American B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped its deadly payload over the city.

Three days later, another US bomber, Bockscar, dropped a plutonium bomb on the city of Nagasaki, killing between 39,000 and 75,000 people. Japan announced its surrender on August 15, 1945, bringing the second world war to a close.

In the past year, 5,359 hibakusha, or survivors, passed away, bringing the death toll to 297,684, according to The Associated Press.

The Wall Street Journal reports that as part of this year’s ceremony, “An additional 5,359 people were added to the register of names of atomic bomb victims.”

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