Japan Pauses To Reflect On Hiroshima Bombing

Japan pauses to reflect on Hiroshima bombing

People in Japan took a moment to pause and remember the victims of an event they can never forget.

On August 6,1945, an American warplane dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Tens of thousands of people died in an instant -- and an estimated 140,000 lost their lives by the end of the year.

People from across the country and visitors from around the world have gathered to reflect on the tragedy and call for a world without nuclear weapons.

About 50,000 people attended the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony.

Representatives of 92 countries were among them.

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui placed a list of the victims in a cenotaph. It includes the names of 5,068 people who died over the past year.

319,186 people are now commemorated in the monument.

The city fell silent at 8:15 AM -- 74 years to the minute after the US bomb struck the city.

In his peace declaration, the mayor featured a short poem by a survivor who was 5 years old when the bomb was dropped. The author writes about her younger sister bleeding heavily from her head -- and her mother's fury.

The survivors known as hibakusha are growing older and fewer in number. Their average age is now over 82.

The mayor urged the Japanese government to listen to the hibakushas' voices and sign and ratify a UN treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons .

Mayor Kazumi Matsui said, "I urge Japan's leaders to manifest the pacifism of the Japanese constitution by displaying leadership in taking the next step toward a world free from nuclear weapons."

Nuclear powers like the US and Russia do not support the treaty. And Japan, which relies on nuclear protection from the US, hasn't signed it.

Its prime minister has maintained Japan will not join the UN treaty. Shinzo Abe has said the treaty's goal of nuclear abolishment is the same as Japan's, but their approaches are different.

He vowed to continue efforts towards a world without nuclear weapons.

Prime Minister Abe said, "We are determined to serve as a bridge between nuclear-armed states and non-nuclear-armed states, persistently urge dialogue by winning cooperation from both sides, and lead the efforts made by the global community."

At the end of the ceremony, members of local choirs performed the Hiroshima Peace song. It was written for the first ceremony and sung every year since.