Pope Francis called for a global ban on nuclear weapons Sunday as Japan marked the 70th anniversary of the U.S. dropping an atomic bomb on Nagasaki days before the end of World War Two.
The pontiff said the memories of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August 1945 remain as a call for nuclear disarmament.
"After so long that tragic event still causes horror and repulsion," the pope said in Rome.
"It became the symbol of the boundless destructive power of man, when the achievements of science and technology are put to wrong use. It remains a permanent warning for humanity to reject war forever and to ban nuclear weapons and every weapon of mass destruction," Francis said.
The pope said he wishes there would be "one voice" that says, "no to war, no to violence, yes to dialogue, yes to peace. With war we always lose."
Bells tolled and tens of thousands of people in Japan observed a minute's silence Sunday to mark the Nagasaki attack that killed 74,000 people. It came three days after a similar observance to remember the attack on Hiroshima that claimed an estimated 140,000 lives.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid a wreath at the Nagasaki ceremony, which was attended by representatives of 75 countries, including U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy.
"As the only country attacked with an atomic bomb in war," Abe said, "I am renewing our determination to lead the global effort for nuclear disarmament, to create a world without such weapons."
There are believed to be nine countries in the world with nuclear weaponry, the United States, Russia, China, Israel, France, Britain, North Korea, Pakistan and India.