Japan marks Nagasaki atomic bombing anniversary

Japanese officials are calling for a move away from nuclear power as the nation marks the 67th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the city of Nagasaki.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged the Japanese government Thursday to set new policy to achieve a society free of radiation fears.

Speaking at a memorial service held near the epicenter of the August 9, 1945 blast, Taue also warned of the dangers of nuclear weapons. Among those attending the service were Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos. It was the U.S. diplomat’s first time at the annual ceremony.

The United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in the closing days of World War II – the first on the city of Hiroshima, and the second, three days later, on Nagasaki. The bombing of Hiroshima killed around 140,000 people, while the attack on Nagasaki killed an estimated 70,000. Japan surrendered six days later.

The anniversaries of the two bombings hold particular significance for Japan now, following last year’s accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The disaster that followed a massive earthquake and tsunami has unleashed a growing wave of anti-nuclear sentiment in the country.

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