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Japan Observes 69th Anniversary of Hiroshima Nuclear Bombing

A woman prays for the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing, in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, in this photo taken by Kyodo, August 6, 2014.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to advocate for a world without nuclear weapons, as his country observed the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Speaking at a ceremony Wednesday at the southern city's Peace Park, President Abe pointed out that Japan is the only country to have suffered an atomic bomb attack.

"I hereby pledge to work hard to realize the abolition of nuclear weapons and eternal world peace so as to avoid the repetition of such an atrocity by nuclear weapons while we adhere to our principles of non-nuclear weapons," said Abe.

A crowd of about 45,000 people, including survivors of the attack, observed a minute of silence at 8:15 a.m. local time, the exact moment when an American B-29 bomber dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.

By the end of 1945, the death toll from the attack was estimated at 140,000. Another 70,000 people died as the result of the bombing of Nagasaki three days later.

The United States argued the attacks were necessary to bring about a quicker end to World War II. Six days after the Nagasaki attack, Japan surrendered, ending the war.