- Title: JAPAN: Marks 64th anniversary of 1945 Nagasaki atomic bomb attack
- Date: 11th August 2009
- Summary: NAGASAKI, JAPAN (FILE) (REUTERS) BLACK AND WHITE AERIAL OF NAGASAKI CITY MORE OF AERIAL AERIAL OF ATOMIC BOMB BEING DROPPED ON NAGASAKI MORE OF ATOMIC BOMB
- Embargoed: 26th August 2009 13:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Reuters ID: LVA9OREWVRQYADT7H5MPX1XCS2AV
- Story Text: Japan marked the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki with prayers and ceremony on Sunday (August 9) as the city of Nagasaki and atomic-bomb survivors pin high hopes on the Obama administration in seeking a world without nuclear weapons.
A bell tolled at 11:02 a.m. local time (0202 GMT), the exact time the bomb was dropped, as tens of thousands of children, elderly survivors, dignitaries and representatives from nearly 60 countries in Nagasaki's Peace Park bowed their heads for a minute of silence in memory of the more than 140,000 who died in the attack and from radiation sickness afterwards.
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso was present at the ceremony and said Japan had to fulfill its responsibility as a nation of peace.
"We can never forget about the precious lives lost in the past when we think about Japan's peace and prosperity. Japan is the only nation that truly knows the impact of the atomic bomb. We must continue to work towards the international community so as not to repeat the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki," said Aso.
Japan has stood by its self-imposed "three non-nuclear principles" banning the possession, production and import of nuclear arms.
Many of the participants, including Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue, expressed high hopes for the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, who has promised to take concrete steps towards a "world without nuclear weapons."
"People of Nagasaki were really moved by President Obama's strong declaration in Prague calling for a nuclear-free world. For us citizens of Nagasaki, it was a historic moment having to hear a nuclear superpower finally taking its first step towards abolishing all nuclear powers," said Taue also warning other countries such as Russia, Britain, France and China to reduce their nuclear arms.
In July, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed on a target for cuts in nuclear arms, pledging to finalise a treaty by year-end to cut the number of deployed nuclear warheads on each side to 1,500-1,675 from levels above 2,200.
According to a recent poll, 61 percent of Americans believe the United States did the right thing by dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Older voters, men and Republicans favored the attacks more than younger people, women and Democrats, the survey of 2,409 registered voters by Quinnipiac University showed.
Asked whether the United States "did the right thing or the wrong thing by dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki," Republicans said it was the right thing to do by a margin of 74 to 13 percent, while Democrats favored it 49 to 29 percent.
Americans widely credit the attacks with ending World War Two, believing they may have saved lives because Japan would not have surrendered otherwise.
Nagasaki was bombed by the United States on August 9, 1945, three days after the western city of Hiroshima.
On August 15, Japan surrendered.
About 27,000 of the city's estimated 200,000 population died instantly, and about 70,000 had died by the end of 1945.
The toll is updated every year as more victims die of radiation sickness and 3,069 names were added to the list of the dead this year, bringing the official death toll to 145,984.
"I join the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the many collaborators across the world in endorsing their call for achieving a nuclear-free world by the year 2020," said Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann, the President of the UN General Assembly who spoke at the commemoration.
Nagasaki's toll from the bomb, nicknamed "Fat Man" by the U.S., is updated every year by the Japanese government which keeps a record of victims it says died of radiation sickness.
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