The Japanese city of Nagasaki has observed the 68th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing that reduced the city to rubble and ended WWII.
Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue criticized the Japanese government at a ceremony Friday for refusing to sign a statement rejecting the use of nuclear weapons. The statement was offered at an international disarmament meeting in April.
The United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, killing about 140,000 people. Days later, on August 9, Nagasaki was hit by a second nuclear bomb that killed about 70,000.
Hiroshima held an observance of the first bombing on Tuesday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a crowd of about 50,000 that Japan has a unique responsibility to push for the end of nuclear weapons.
Doves fly near the Peace Statue in Nagasaki's Peace Park during a ceremony commemorating the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city, August 9, 2013. (Reuters/Kyodo)
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offers a flower wreath for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing during a ceremony at Peace Park in Nagasaki, August 9, 2013. (Reuters/Kyodo)
People pray for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing during a mass at the Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki on the 68th anniversary of the bombing of the city, August 9, 2013. (Reuters/Kyodo)
Pacifists stage a demonstration at the Peace Wall in Paris, to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, August 9, 2013.
Students arrange themselves into the formation of a dove to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Chennai, India, August 8, 2013.
A student participates in a peace rally to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in Mumbai, August 6, 2013.