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Prime Minister Attends Hiroshima Memorial Service for the Dead and Peace Memorial Ceremony
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi attended the annual Hiroshima Memorial Service for the Dead and Peace Memorial Ceremony held in Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima City.
The ceremony this year, which marks the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, was attended by approximately 55,000 people, or 10,000 more than last year.
Mr. Tadatoshi Akiba, the Mayor of Hiroshima City, and the representatives of the bereaved family members added the names of people recognized as atomic bomb victims in the past year to the cenotaph. Afterwards, the participants led by the bereaved family members, children, the representatives of the atomic bomb victims, Prime Minister Koizumi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the House of Councillors and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court offered flowers.
The Peace Bell was rung by a representative of the atomic bomb victims and a child representative at 8:15a.m., when the atomic bomb was dropped, and the participants offered a silent prayer.
Mayor Akiba delivered the "Peace Declaration" in which he stated, "We hereby declare the 369 days from today until August 9, 2006, a 'Year of Inheritance, Awakening and Commitment.' During this Year, the Mayors for Peace, working with nations, NGOs and the vast majority of the world's people, will launch a great diversity of campaigns for nuclear weapons abolition in numerous cities throughout the world."
Next the child representatives in attendance read the "Promise for Peace" which stated, "We will continue to speak of the horror of nuclear weapons to the people around the world. We will pass down the story of what happened in Hiroshima. We will not put an end to such efforts until a peaceful world is created."
Prime Minister Koizumi delivered an address, in which he stated, "As the only nation in human history to be bombed with atomic weapons, Japan will continue to comply with its Peace Constitution and firmly maintain the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, with its strong commitment not to repeat the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan will lead the international community to promote international efforts for nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation and devote itself to abolish nuclear weapons."
Even after the ceremony ended, there were an endless number of people around the Peace Memorial Park and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) in line to offer flowers, prayers, and a thousand paper cranes, which had been collected from across the country.
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