Hundreds on Wednesday have attended a commemorative ceremony in Japan's Nagasaki to mark the 72nd anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombings that killed tens of thousands of people.

Doves fly over the Peace Statue in Nagasaki's Peace Park during a ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of the city, in Nagasaki, Japan. August 9, 2017.
Doves fly over the Peace Statue in Nagasaki's Peace Park during a ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of the city, in Nagasaki, Japan. August 9, 2017.

Hundreds participated in a memorial ceremony in Japan's Nagasaki on Wednesday, marking the day when the US dropped an atomic bomb named "Fat Man" on the city 72 years ago.

The world's first atomic bomb, used on August 6, 1945, killed 140,000 people in Hiroshima. The bombing of Nagasaki three days later killed 70,000 more.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, local residents and relatives of the victims attended the ceremony at the Nagasaki Peace Park to commemorate the anniversary of the atomic bombing.

At 11:02 am, when the bomb struck 72 years ago, people at the ceremony observed a moment of silence as the peace bell rang.

"Nuclear weapons are incompatible with mankind," said Yoshitoshi Fukahori, an 88-year-old survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bombing who lost his sister in the blast.

He said that as he rushed home the morning after the bombing, the shocking view from the hilltop — his hometown flattened and the landmark Catholic church on fire — made him cry.

While Abe reaffirmed his commitment to "realising a world without nuclear weapons," local mayor Tomihisa Taue expressed concerns about "the international situation surrounding nuclear weapons."

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offers a flower wreath for the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing, during a ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of the city at Nagasaki's Peace Park in Nagasaki, Japan. August 9, 2017. (Reuters)
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offers a flower wreath for the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing, during a ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of the city at Nagasaki's Peace Park in Nagasaki, Japan. August 9, 2017. (Reuters)

The outspoken mayor praised the atomic bombing survivors, or "hibakusha," for their lifelong devotion to the effort.

More than 175,000 hibakusha have died in Nagasaki since the attack, including 3,551 in the past year, while over 300,000 of their peers have died in Hiroshima.

The average age of the survivors is more than 81 years.

Many suffer from the lasting effects of radiation.

Nuclear arms of North Korea

Tomihisa Taue urged nuclear states to abandon such weapons and criticised Japan's government for not taking part in the global effort toward a nuclear ban.

"The nuclear threat will not end as long as nations continue to claim that nuclear weapons are essential for their national security," Taue said.

Taue's comments come days after the UN Security Council imposed new sanctions against North Korea, which has continued to test ballistic missiles and nuclear arms.

He said Japan's absence even during diplomatic negotiations for the UN Nuclear Prohibition Treaty, adopted in July, is "incomprehensible to those of us living in the cities that suffered atomic bombings."

"A strong sense of anxiety is spreading across the globe that in the not too distant future these weapons could actually be used again."

He urged Japan's government to change its policy of relying on the US nuclear umbrella and join the nuclear prohibition treaty as soon as possible.

Source: AP