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Nagasaki marks 69th anniversary of US atomic bombing, mayor urges government to rethink "collective self-defence"

Published on Aug 9, 2014 8:49 PM
 
Pigeons fly around the peace statue during a memorial service for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing, at Nagasaki Peace Park on Aug 9, 2014. Tens of thousands marked the 69th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Nagasaki on Saturday, Aug 9, 2014, as the city's pacifist mayor urged the Japanese government to listen to increasing concerns over controversial plans to expand the role of its military. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Tens of thousands marked the 69th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Nagasaki on Saturday, as the city's pacifist mayor urged the Japanese government to listen to increasing concerns over controversial plans to expand the role of its military.

Crowds gathered to remember the more than 70,000 people who died in the initial blast or from after-effects in the months and years following the bombing, which hit Nagasaki at 11.02am local time.

Bells tolled as ageing survivors, relatives, government officials and foreign delegates observed a moment of silence at the time of detonation that turned the Japanese city into a ball of flames.

The ceremony, attended by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, went ahead despite a powerful typhoon churning towards the region whipping up strong winds.

 
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