Nagasaki Marks A-Bomb Anniversary

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Al Jazeera

Nagasaki Marks A-Bomb Anniversary

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People pray at Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki, Japan, marking the 65 anniversary of the US nuclear attack on the city in World War II, Monday, Aug. 9, 2010. Nagasaki was flattened 3 days after the US detonated its first nuclear bomb on Hiroshima. 80,000 civilians were killed in Nagasaki, while 140,000 civilians were killed in Hiroshima. (Kyodo News)

The southern Japanese city of Nagasaki marked the 65th anniversary of the US atomic bomb attack on Monday, three days after Hiroshima held its biggest-ever memorial service.

A moment of silence was observed on Monday as the bell tolled at 11.02am local time, the moment the US dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki during World War II killing at least 80,000 people.

Japan surrendered on August 15, ending World War II, and became the only country that has ever been attacked with atomic weapons.

Monday's ceremony began with a chorus of aging survivors of the atomic bombing and Mayor Tomihisa Taue calling for a nuclear-free world.

"Nagasaki, together with Hiroshima, will continue to make the utmost efforts until the world gets rid of all nuclear weapons," he said.

A record 32 countries were in attendance.

While the US for the first time sent a delegation to Friday's memorial ceremony in Hiroshima, no representative was present at the Nagasaki anniversary.

No US apology

The US' World War II allies Britain and France, both declared nuclear powers, had sent their diplomats for the first time to Friday's ceremony in the western Japanese city, in a sign of support for the goal of nuclear disarmament.

The British and French delegations, as well as an envoy from Israel, also attended the Nagasaki ceremony for the first time.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, visited Nagasaki a day before the Hiroshima anniversary, where he attended the ceremony also for the first time as the UN chief.

He is leading an initiative for an international convention to outlaw nuclear arms.

Nagasaki was devastated by a plutonium bomb nicknamed "Fat Man", which claimed tens of thousands of lives instantly or days later due to burns and radiation sickness.

"Little Boy", a four-ton uranium bomb, detonated over Hiroshima, killing an estimated 140,000 people.

The United States has never acceded to demands in Japan for an apology for the loss of innocent lives in the atomic bombings.

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