Japan marked the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Wednesday, as Mayor Kazumi Matsui called on U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders to visit the city to see the scars of the atomic bombing first hand.
In his “peace declaration” speech, Matsui invited world leaders to his once-devastated hometown, referring to a proposal made at a ministerial meeting in April of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative in Hiroshima, urging them to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
"President Obama and all leaders of nuclear-armed nations, please respond to that call by visiting the A-bombed cities as soon as possible to see what happened with your own eyes," Matsui said. "If you do, you will be convinced that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil that must no longer be allowed to exist."
Hiroshima launched a campaign this year to send invitation letters to Obama, written on papers recycled from tens of millions of “origami” cranes — a symbol of peace — sent from around the world.
About 45,000 people stood for a minute of silence at the ceremony in Hiroshima’s peace park near the epicenter of the 1945 attack that killed up to 140,000 people. A second bombing, over Nagasaki three days later, killed another 70,000, prompting Japan’s surrender in World War II.
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