A bell tolled Monday in Hiroshima as Japan marked 73 years since the world's first atomic bombing, with the city's mayor warning that rising nationalism worldwide threatened peace.
The skies over Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park were clear, just as they were on August 6, 1945, when an American B-29 bomber dropped its deadly payload on the port city dotted with military installations, ultimately killing 140,000 people.
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, standing at the park near ground zero for the annual ceremony, appealed for a world without nuclear weapons and sounded the alarm over increasing nationalism.
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui (R) offers a new list of A-bomb dead, including individuals who died since last year's anniversary from the side effects of radiation at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.
Without naming specific nations, he warned that "certain countries are explicitly expressing self-centred nationalism and modernising their nuclear arsenals."
They were "rekindling tensions that had eased with the end of the Cold War", he added.
He urged the abolition of nuclear weapons, in a year when President Donald Trump pledged to increase the US nuclear arsenal.
"If the human family forgets history or stops confronting it, we could again commit a terrible error. That is precisely why we must continue talking about Hiroshima," Matsui said.
"Efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons must continue."
His call however highlighted Japan's contradictory relationship with nuclear weapons.
Japanese officials routinely argue that they oppose atomic weapons but the nation's defence is dependent on the US nuclear umbrella.
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