"We Japanese are the only people to have experienced the horror of nuclear devastation in war. As such a people, we bear a responsibility to bring about 'a world without nuclear weapons' without fail," Abe said in Hiroshima during a ceremony marking the 68th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the city.
In his speech at the ceremony at the Peace Memorial Park, Abe pledged Japan would maintain its three principles of not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear weapons on Japanese territory, Kyodo reported.
However, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said he was concerned about the government's drive to reach a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with nuclear-armed India, saying even if such an agreement "promotes their economic relationship, it is likely to hinder nuclear weapons abolition."
Matsui called atomic bombs "the ultimate inhumane weapon and an absolute evil," urging the Japanese government to enhance ties with nations that want to abolish nuclear weapons.
"Hiroshima is a place that embodies the grand pacifism of the Japanese constitution," Matsui said. "We urge the national government to rapidly develop and implement a responsible energy policy that places top priority on safety and the livelihoods of the people."
Nearly all of Japan's 50 commercial nuclear power reactors remain offline following the Fukushima nuclear plant crisis that began in March 2011.
Representatives of 70 countries, including the United States, were among the estimated 50,000 people who attended the event, Kyodo said.
Abe said Japan has "a duty to continue to convey to the next generation, and indeed to the world, the inhumanity of nuclear weapons."