TOKYO, August 6. /TASS/. A memorial ceremony has started Thursday in the Japanese city of Hiroshima that was subjected to nuclear bombing 70 years ago. Tens of thousands of local residents, politicians, public figures and foreign delegations have gathered in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
At 8:15 local time — precisely at the time when the bomb exploded on 6 August 1945 — a minute of silence was observed. Before that, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and members of public organizations laid wreaths from yellow and white flowers to the memorial in the center of the park. Katzumi Matsui then presented a peace declaration calling for full nuclear disarmament. Shinzo Abe also made a solemn speech.
"I express my condolences to spirits of all victims of the nuclear bombing, to everyone who survived in this tragedy and to their relatives," the Japanese prime minister said in a statement distributed before the ceremony. "And I swear that we will achieve this and that the world will completely give up nuclear weapons."
Mayor of Hiroshima Kazumi Matsui has urged the international community to completely give up nuclear weapons.
"As long as nuclear weapons exist, you never know who will be their victim," he said, reading out the Peace Declaration at the ceremony to pay homage to the victims of the atomic bombing, which was carried out 70 years ago. "Heed our voice and think about it in all seriousness," he added.
Matsui once again invited the US president to visit the city and personally communicate with the survivors of that terrible tragedy. "Visit Hiroshima, listen to the stories of those who survived," he said. The Mayor of Hiroshima also recalled that the US atomic bombing had claimed not only the lives of the locals but also "of residents of the Korean Peninsula, China, the entire Asian region and US prisoners-of-war."
Early in the morning on August 6, 1945, the Japanese air defense forces localized a squad of US warplanes approaching Hiroshima but the command took the decision not to intercept them. So, an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, piloted by Lt. Col Paul Tibbets dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. The bomb, nicknamed "Little Boy", exploded 580 meters above the ground unleashing a blinding flash followed by a deafening boom. From 70,000 to 100,000 people died instantly. By the end of 1945, the death toll rose to about 140,000. The explosion, equal to 12,000 to 15,000 tons of TNT, destroyed more than two-thirds of Hiroshima’s buildings.