Nagasaki Mark Atomic Bomb Anniversary

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy offers a wreath for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing in Nagasaki, in this Kyodo photo taken on Aug. 9, 2014. /Reuters U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy offers a wreath for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing in Nagasaki, in this Kyodo photo taken on Aug. 9, 2014. /Reuters

In Japan, tens of thousands of people turned out on Saturday to mark the 69th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki.

Thousands of aging survivors, government officials and others attended a ceremony in the city's Peace Park. Delegates representing 51 other countries included U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy.

In remarks to the crowd, Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government to listen to the people and not abandon Japan's pacifist stance.

Attendees stood for a minute of silence at 11:02 a.m., marking the time Aug. 9, 1945, when the United States dropped a bomb on the city. It killed at least 70,000 people and, along with the bombing of Hiroshima three days earlier, brought about Japan's surrender and the end of World War II. 

Japan is divided over the government's decision to allow its military to defend foreign countries and to play greater roles overseas.

More than half the public opposes such a move, the Associated Press reported, citing opinion polls. Their aversion stems from witnessing the war's devastation, among other things.

VOA News / Aug. 11, 2014 08:11 KST