Hiroshima Marks 72nd Anniversary of World War II Atomic Bombings

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"Our country is committed to leading the worldwide community by encouraging both sides to make progress toward abolishing nuclear arms", Abe said in his speech at the annual ceremony at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park near the ground zero, reported AFP.

Hiroshima marked the 72nd anniversary of the August 6, 1945, attack that killed 140,000 people with a sombre ceremony, a minute of silence to remember the dead and a call to eliminate nuclear weapons.

"For us to truly realise a "world without nuclear weapons", the participation of both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states is necessary", he said.

This year's ceremony at Peace Memorial Park near ground zero in Hiroshima follows the adoption by 122 United Nations members of the world's first treaty to comprehensively ban nuclear weapons.

Tokyo announced its surrender in World War II on Aug 15, 1945.

Hiroshima mayor Kazumi Matsui called on the Japanese government to sign the treaty banning nuclear weapons and demanded more compassionate assistance to aging hibakusha, as well as to "the many others also suffering mentally and physically from the effects of radiation".

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"Today, a single bomb can cause even greater damage than the bombs dropped 72 years ago".

"The states possessing nuclear weapons have a special responsibility to undertake concrete and irreversible steps in nuclear disarmament", Guterres stressed, warning against the continued presence of some 15,000 nuclear weapons and unsafe rhetoric regarding their use.

The United Nations issued a statement Sunday urging countries to continue working toward a nuclear weapons-free world.

He noted that adoption of the treaty was the outcome of the campaign focused on the unconditional unacceptability of the use of nuclear weapons.

"The states possessing nuclear weapons have special responsibility to undertake concrete and irreversible steps on nuclear disarmament", Guterres stressed.