HIROSHIMA , Japan, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Hiroshima, Japan, target of a U.S. atomic bomb at the end of World War II, commemorated the 69th anniversary of the bombing Wednesday with speeches, ceremony and calls for peace.
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, referring to nuclear weapons as an "absolute evil," said in a speech, "To eliminate the evil, we must transcend nationality, race, religion, and other differences, value person-to-person relationships, and build a world that allows forward-looking dialogue. We must continue as a nation of peace in both word and deed."
He noted Japan has maintained peace since 1945 because of a deliberately pacifist and war-renouncing constitution, a controversial matter since Abe's cabinet last month called for permitting Japan's Self-Defense Forces to exercise what it called rights to collective self-defense. The proposed plan came in light of territorial disputes with China.
Hiroshima today is a busy manufacturing center with a population of 1.2 million.
An estimated 140,000 people died in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. Another atomic bomb struck the city of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, and Japan surrendered to Allied Forces six days later.