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Nagasaki marks anniversary of atomic bomb attack

The Japanese city of Nagasaki is marking the 67th anniversary of its atomic bombing by the United States. The commemoration comes amid a heated debate on the future of nuclear power in the country.

Three days after the commemoration of the dropping of an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, the city of Nagasaki on Thursday held a ceremony to remember the 74,000 people killed there by a similar nuclear bomb attack in August, 1945.

The mayor of Nagasaki, Tomihisa Taue, called on the government to create a future free of nuclear fears.

He said politicians should "set new energy policy goals to build a society free from the fear of radioactivity."

He also described the 1945 attack as "unacceptable" even in wartime.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who also attended the ceremony, used his speech to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Noda also vowed to keep the memory of the victims and the attack alive as the survivors age.

Nuclear power debate

Japanis reviewing policies on nuclear power amid growing public skepticism about its safety since a tsunami and earthquake caused meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in March 2011.

The country shut down all of its reactors in the wake of the disaster, but has since restarted two of them in a move opposed by many Japanese.

The annual ceremony in Nagasaki was held near the spot where the US military dropped its plutonium bomb, nicknamed "Fat Man," on August 9, 1945. The bombing, which destroyed the north of the city in a second, occurred just days before Japan surrendered.

The ceremony was attended by Clifton Truman Daniel, 55, grandson of US president Harry Truman, who authorized the bombings of both Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The latter bombing killed 140,000 people.

tj/slk (AFP, dpa)