Hiroshima 2006: 45,000 in silent prayer for the tens of thousands killed & maimed 8:15am Aug 6 1945 Print E-mail
 Pakistan -- Monday, August 07, 2006, Rajab 11, 1427 A.H.

Hiroshima calls for N-free world


HIROSHIMA, Aug 6: The Japanese city of Hiroshima marked the 61st anniversary of the world’s first atomic attack on Sunday with renewed calls for a nuclear-free world.

Some 45,000 people recited silent prayers at 8:15am (0315am PST) the exact moment in 1945 when a single US bomb instantly killed more than 140,000 people and fatally injured tens of thousands of others with radiation or horrific burns.

Government officials and foreign guests from 35 countries laid wreaths before a memorial to the dead against the backdrop of the famous A-bomb dome, a former exhibition hall burned to a skeleton by the bomb’s heat.

The peal of a bell echoed at the memorial park, where survivors mostly in their 70s or 80s also gathered, escorted by their children or grandchildren under a scorching sun to say prayers for the dead.

“Sixty-one years later, the number of nations enamored of evil and enslaved by nuclear weapons is increasing,” Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba said in a speech.

Akiba said his city and atomic bomb survivors have long sought the abolition of nuclear weapons. “Yet the world’s political leaders continue to ignore these voices,” he said.

“I call on the Japanese government to ... forcefully insist that the nuclear-weapon states negotiate in good faith for nuclear disarmament,” Akiba said.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said: “We promise to continue leading the international society to the goal of abolishing nuclear weapons.”­AFP