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Japan Marks Atomic Bombing Anniversary

By VOA News
06 August 2009

The mayor of the Japanese city of Hiroshima has called for the abolition of nuclear weapons, as he marked the 64th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing that killed nearly 260,000 people.

Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba made the appeal Thursday at a memorial service for victims of the 1945 attack.

The mayor praised U.S. President Barack Obama for his anti-nuclear views. He noted that Mr. Obama said in an April speech in the Czech Republic that the U.S. has a "moral responsibility to act" since it is the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon.

Mayor Akiba said there is a global majority (that he referred to as an "Obamajority") of people who want to eliminate nuclear weapons.

The mayor also issued a peace declaration in which he described the suffering resulting from the Hiroshima bombing as "a hell no words can convey." He says radiation absorbed more than 60 years ago is still having an impact on victims.

The death toll from the Hiroshima attack has reached nearly 260,000, with thousands of victims dying of the effects of the blast in the succeeding years.

Three days after Hiroshima, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki, killing at least 70,000 people. Japan surrendered six days later, officially ending World War II.

Meanwhile, a national poll released by the U.S. Quinnipiac University on Tuesday indicates a majority of Americans believe dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the right thing to do.

Researchers say 61 percent of those polled said they support the bombings. About 22 percent said they opposed the move.

The researchers say their findings are based on a survey of about 2,400 registered voters nationwide.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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