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US joins Hiroshima memorial


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US joins Hiroshima memorial

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HIROSHIMA, Japan – A United States representative participated for the first time yesterday in Japan’s annual commemoration of the American atomic bombing of Hiroshima, in a 65th anniversary event that organisers hoped would bolster global efforts toward nuclear disarmament.The site of the world’s first A-bomb attack echoed with the choirs of schoolchildren and the solemn ringing of bells yesterday as Hiroshima marked its biggest memorial yet. At 8:15 a.m. – the time the bomb dropped, incinerating most of the city – a moment of silence was observed.Hiroshima’s mayor welcomed Washington’s decision to send United States Ambassador John Roos to the commemoration, which began with an offering of water to the 140 000 who died in the first of two nuclear bombings that prompted Japan’s surrender in World War II.Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba is also hoping that President Barack Obama would visit Hiroshima, an idea that Obama had said he would like to consider but that would be highly controversial and unprecedented for a sitting United States president.“We need to communicate to every corner of the globe the intense yearning of the survivors for the abolition of nuclear weapons,” Akiba told the 55 000 people at the ceremony.Akiba called on the Japanese government to take a leadership role in nuclear disarmament toward “turning a new page in human history”.“I offer my prayers to those who died.”Along with the United States, nuclear powers Britain and France also made their first official appearance at the memorial, as well as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Altogether, 74 nations were represented. (AP)

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