Japan commemorates 63rd anniversary of Hiroshima nuclear bomb

August 6th, 2008 - 2:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, Aug 6 (DPA) Some 45,000 people Wednesday attended the memorial ceremony to commemorate the 63rd anniversary of the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima by the US. Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba pledged at the ceremony “to do everything in our power to accomplish the total eradication of nuclear weapons”.

Akiba stressed the majority of the states across the world supported the abolition of nuclear weapons, while expressing hope that the next US president would “listen conscientiously to the majority”.

Last year 170 nations voted in favour of a resolution introduced at the United Nations by Japan, calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Three nations, including the US, opposed it.

Attendees observed a moment of silence at the Peace Memorial Park at 8.15 a.m., the time the atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima, killing an estimated 140,000 people by the end of 1945.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda attended the ceremony, along with diplomats from 55 nations.

“I, today, here in Hiroshima, again pledge that our country will firmly maintain the three anti-nuclear principles and take the lead in international society to realise the abolition of nuclear weapons and lasting peace,” Fukuda said.

He renewed Japan’s policy of not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear weapons on its soil.

A number of Hibakusha, as survivors of the nuclear bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are called in Japan, met Fukuda to demand that the government revise its assessment of nuclear bomb-related illnesses.

A series of court cases struck down the government’s fixed criteria that barred many survivors from getting expanded medical benefits.

A total number of victims rose to 258,310, as the names of 5,302 people, who died within a year since Aug 6 last year, were added Wednesday to the cenotaph at the Peace Memorial Park.

Some 243,692 Hibakusha live in and outside Japan as of March 31. Their average age is 75.14 years.

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