Japan commemorates 63rd anniversary of Nagasaki bombing

August 9th, 2008 - 11:36 am ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, Aug 9 (DPA) Some 5,400 people gathered at Peace Park in southern Japanese city of Nagasaki Saturday to commemorate the 63rd anniversary of 1945 atomic bombing. Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue called on the world’s leaders to abandon nuclear weapons.

As a nation once devastated by nuclear weapons, “Japan has a mission and a responsibility to take initiative in eradicating nuclear weapons”, Taue said.

He added that to denuclearise the Korean peninsula the Japanese government should strongly demand that North Korea completely abolish its nuclear programmes.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda attended the ceremony, along with representatives from eight nations including Russia.

Fukuda pledged to firmly maintain Japan’s three avowed principles of not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear weapons on its soil, in a speech similar to one he delivered in Hiroshima.

Attendees observed a moment of silence at 11.02 a.m., the time when the US dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 74,000 people by the end of 1945. Japan surrendered six days after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, bringing an end to World War II in the Pacific theatre.

A total of 243,692 atomic-bomb survivors were living in and outside of Japan as of March 31, with an average age of 75.

This year, the names of another 3,058 people who have been recognised as victims of the bombing of Nagasaki were added to the list, bringing the total number of victims to 145,984.

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