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09 August 2018, 05:37 | Jodi Jackson
Hidekazu Tanaka left stands beside Jan Letzel's original conceptual drawing of the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui on Monday pledged to continue passing on to younger generations the experience of the 1945 US atomic bombing of the western Japan city.
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, standing at the park near ground zero for the annual ceremony, made his annual call for a world without nuclear weapons and warned of the threat of rising nationalism.
"If the human family forgets history or stops confronting it, we could again commit a bad error", Matsui said at a memorial ceremony to remember the atomic bombing.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also was at the ceremony, said differences between the nuclear and non-nuclear states are widening.
The Little Boy atomic bomb, the type detonated over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
And less than two months ago, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to the "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" during their summit in Singapore, though the deal has been criticized for lacking detail.
Matsui said in his speech that Japan's government should do more to achieve a nuclear-free world by helping the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons take effect. It was the first use of nuclear weapons against human beings. The pact was adopted in July 2017.
Students in Japan spent that last two years working with virtual reality technology to painstakingly recreate the nuclear blast that wiped out Hiroshima in World War 2.
The event was held to share the stories of hibakusha atomic bomb survivors.
Abe said Japan is determined to act as a bridge between the 2 sides, and to be an global leader.
"Maintaining its three nonnuclear principles, our country is determined to make strenuous efforts to serve as a bridge between both parties", Abe said.
The United Nations secretary-general urged in his speech delivered by Izumi Nakamitsu, high representative for disarmament affairs, that hibakusha continue to exert their "moral leadership" for the world to seek the abolition of nuclear arms.
As of March, the number of hibakusha stood at 154,859.
Speakers include Michael Vaughn, a military veteran; Denise Donnell of the Just Communities of Arkansas organization; Tristan Norman, a Hendrix College student-delegate who visited Japan earlier this year; and Frank LeBlanc, pastor of Westover Hills Presbyterian Church.
"When I was creating the buildings before the atomic bomb fell and after, I saw many photos of buildings that were gone".
Another Hiroshima resident Yoshinobu Ota, 71, was born after the bombing.
"My mother used to say an atomic bomb instantly destroys people's lives", Ota said.
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