Japan remembers Hiroshima, urges world to follow Obama and visit

NNA – Japan marked the 71st anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Saturday as its mayor urged world leaders to follow in U.S. President Barack Obama’s footsteps and visit, and ultimately rid the world of nuclear arms.

A peace bell tolled at 8:15 a.m. (2315 GMT on Friday), the time a U.S. warplane dropped the bomb. About 50,000 participants including aging survivors and dignitaries held a moment of silence at a memorial ceremony in the western Japanese city.

Obama this year became the first incumbent U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, and he urged nuclear powers, including his own, to have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without nuclear weapons. “The president’s words showed he was touched by the spirit of Hiroshima, which refuses to accept the ‘absolute evil’,” the mayor, Kazumi Matsui, told the crowd, referring to the weapons.

The United States dropped the bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, killing thousands of people instantly and about 140,000 by the end of that year. U.S. forces dropped another atomic bomb on the southern city of Nagasaki on Aug. 9. Japan surrendered six days later. ————–REUTERS