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Nagasaki mayor urges worldwide nuclear arms ban

world Updated: Aug 09, 2009 10:22 IST

The mayor of Nagasaki called for a global ban on nuclear arms at a ceremony marking the 64th anniversary of the devastating US attack on the Japanese city that killed about 80,000 people.

In a speech given just after 11:02 am, the time when a plutonium American bomb flattened Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, Mayor Tomihisa Taue said some progress toward eliminating nuclear weaponry had been made but more needed to be done.

He cited a speech by President Barack Obama in April calling on the world to rid itself of atomic weapons, but also noted a nuclear test blast by North Korea in May.

"We, as human beings, now have two paths before us. While one can lead us to a world without nuclear weapons, the other will carry us toward annihilation, bringing us to suffer once again the destruction experienced in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 64 years ago," he said.

The atomic attack on Nagasaki came three days after one on Hiroshima, in which 140,000 people were killed or died within months. Japan surrendered on August 15, ending World War II. At Sunday's ceremony, Nagasaki observed a moment of silence at the moment of detonation 64 years earlier, while a large bell in the city's Peace Park was rung repeatedly.

Taue invited leaders of countries possessing nuclear arms to come to Nagasaki and speak to survivors of the attack. Prime Minister Taro Aso and other dignitaries also addressed the crowd of thousands that had assembled for the ceremony.