Photo/IllutrationStudents offer flowers at the peace ceremony in Hiroshima’s Naka Ward on Aug. 6. (Toyokazu Kosugi)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

HIROSHIMA--With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looking on, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui urged Japan to ratify an international treaty banning nuclear weapons at the peace ceremony on Aug. 6 marking the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombing.

"Firmly listen to the voices of survivors asking Japan to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” Matsui said in his remarks, referring to the treaty approved July 7, 2017, at a U.N. conference.

However, Abe in his speech at the ceremony failed to touch on the treaty for the second consecutive year.

Amid heavy rain, an estimated 50,000 people, including ambassadors and other diplomats of 92 countries to Japan, atomic bomb survivors and bereaved families, were in attendance.

They offered a silent prayer at 8:15 a.m., the moment when the atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima 74 years ago.

This year, the names of 5,068 hibakusha who passed away in the past year were added to the cenotaph for atomic bomb victims, bringing the number to 319,186 in total.

The ceremony followed the expiration of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty on Aug. 2, which the United States had negotiated with the former Soviet Union. The treaty, which had been in effect for more than 30 years before the withdrawal of the United States, symbolized the end of the Cold War.

“I want countries to remember the courageous statesmen who started working toward disarmament by expressing rational arguments and having talks,” Matsui also said in his speech.