Nagasaki has marked the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing attack on Sunday, August 9.
Speeches at the ceremony criticized the attending PM Shinzo Abe for his plans to loosen the restrictions on what Japan’s military can do.
At least 70,000 people died in the US forces attack, which came three days after another bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
Nagasaki was only chosen after a cloud obscured the original target, Kokura.
A solemn ceremony in front of guests from 75 countries, including US ambassador Caroline Kennedy, began with a declaration read out by children.
A minute’s silence and bells marked the time of the explosion in 1945 at 11:02.
Nagasaki mayor Tomihisa Taue then delivered a peace declaration to the ceremony. He said there was “widespread unease” about PM Shinzo Abe’s bid to alter the country’s pacifist constitutional.
A survivor of the Nagasaki attack, 86-year-old Sumiteru Taniguchi, described the injuries he had suffered and said he could not accept Shinzo Abe’s new legislation.
The legislation would allow Japan to engage in combat – in defense of an ally which comes under attack – for the first time since World War Two.
In his address to the ceremony, PM Shinzo Abe said Japan remained “determined to pursue a world without nuclear weapons”.
In a statement read out on his behalf, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: “Nagasaki must be the last – we cannot allow any future use of nuclear weapons. The humanitarian consequences are too great. No more Nagasakis. No more Hiroshimas.”
The effects of the atomic bomb were instant and devastating. It destroyed a third of the city, killing thousands instantly and condemning more to death from radiation sickness.
Days later, Japan surrendered, ending World War Two, although the necessity of the two bombs has been debated ever since.
Hiroshima is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the first atomic bomb being dropped by a US aircraft.
A ceremony, attended by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was held at Hiroshima’s memorial park before thousands of lanterns are released on the city’s Motoyasu river.
The bombing – and a second one on Nagasaki on August 9 – is credited with bringing to an end World War II.
It claimed the lives of at least 140,000 people in Hiroshima.
A US B-29 bomber called the Enola Gay dropped the uranium bomb, exploding some 1,800ft above Hiroshima, at around 08:10 on August 6, 1945.
On that day alone, at least 70,000 people are believed to have been killed. Many more died of horrific injuries caused by radiation poisoning in the days, weeks and months that followed.
People across Japan have observed a minute’s silence to mark the anniversary. In Hiroshima a bell tolled at 08:15 local time – when the US aircraft dropped the bomb that flattened the city centre.
Addressing 40,000 people who attended the commemoration ceremony at Hiroshima’s peace park near the epicenter of the 1945 attack, Shinzo Abe called for worldwide nuclear disarmament.
The prime minister said that that atomic bomb not only killed thousands of people in Hiroshima but also caused unspeakable suffering to survivors.
“Today Hiroshima has been revived and has become a city of culture and prosperity.
“Seventy years on I want to reemphasize the necessity of world peace,” he said.
Shinzo Abe and Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matusi were joined by US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy for the official ceremony of remembrance on August 6, which included silent prayers, the release of doves and a declaration of peace.
Kazumi Matsui described nuclear weapons as an “absolute evil” while urging the world to put an end to them forever.
“To coexist we must abolish the… ultimate inhumanity that is nuclear weapons. Now is the time to start taking action,” he said in his annual speech.
Later in the day, thousands of paper lanterns will be released on the city’s Motoyasu River – symbolizing the journey to the afterlife of those who died.
The Hiroshima bombing commemoration comes as divisions in Japan rise over Shinzo Abe’s bid to pass unpopular legislation to expand the country’s military role worldwide.
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