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August 7, 2009

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Hiroshima mayor: Abolish all nukes

HIROSHIMA'S mayor urged global leaders yesterday to back United States President Barack Obama's call to abolish nuclear weapons as Japan marked the 64th anniversary of the world's first atomic bomb attack.

In April, Obama said that the US - the only nation that has deployed atomic bombs in combat - has a "moral responsibility" to act and declared his goal to rid the world of the weapons.

At a solemn ceremony to commemorate the victims of the August 6, 1945 attack, Hiroshima's Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba welcomed that commitment.

"We refer to ourselves, the great global majority, as the 'Obamajority,' and we call on the rest of the world to join forces with us to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020," Akiba said.

The bombed-out dome of the building preserved as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial loomed in the background, and hundreds of white doves were released into the air as he finished speaking.

About 50,000 attended the ceremony, including officials and visitors from countries around the world, though the US did not have an official representative at the ceremony.

An estimated 140,000 people were killed in the nuclear attack.


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