Nagasaki on Thursday marked the 62nd anniversary of the US atomic bombing of the city with calls for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
More than 5,500 people gathered in the city's Peace Park for a memorial service at which Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged the Japanese government to convey to the rest of the world that no states should possess such weapons.
It was the first anniversary for Taue as mayor after he succeeded Itcho Ito, who was gunned down in April by a gang member. Ito had worked to abolish nuclear arms, help victims of the 1945 bombing and promote peace.
While paying tribute to Ito, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged that his government would maintain Japan's three non-nuclear principles, which stipulates Japan not possess, produce or allow nuclear arms into its territory.
"Japan, as a sole nation to experience nuclear bombings, has the responsibility to tell the rest of the world the tragedy caused by atomic bombs," Abe said.
The prime minister has earlier apologized to bombing victims for remarks made by his former defence minister that the 1945 bombings "could not be helped" and were carried out by the United States to end the war.
Fumio Kyuma, a Nagasaki native, resigned shortly after he made the comment, which was considered one of the reasons Abe's ruling coalition lost its majority in July 29 elections for the upper house of parliament.
Kyuma refrained from attending the anniversary ceremonies this year because of criticism over his remarks, spurred particularly by anger among the bombing's survivors.
About 74,000 people died in the bombing of Nagasaki, the second Japanese city to be hit by an atomic bomb. At least 140,000 people died in Hiroshima three days earlier, on August 6, 1945. Japan surrendered on August 15.
Nagasaki's toll has since doubled as a result of subsequent deaths related to the bombing. In the year ending July 31, the city saw 3,069 more deaths, bringing its total death toll to 143,124.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Ağustos 2007, 15:11