The Azerbaijan State News Agency

HIROSHIMA MAYOR CHASTISES U.S. FOR DEVELOPING SMALL NUKES

The mayor of Hiroshima rebuked Washington on Friday - the 59th anniversary of his city's atomic bombing by the United States - for wanting to develop small nuclear weapons that he feared would be easier to use.

Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba made the remarks at a ceremony attended by about 40,000 people, including Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi plus survivors and relatives of victims of the world's first atomic attack.

"The egocentric world view of the U.S. government is reaching extremes," Akiba told the annual memorial ceremony at the city's Peace Park, near where the bomb was dropped.

"Ignoring the United Nations and its foundation of international law, the U.S. has resumed research to make nuclear weapons smaller and more 'usable'."

The Peace Bell was tolled at 8:15 a.m. - the moment a U.S. warplane dropped the bomb on August 6, 1945 and destroyed the city - and there was a minute of silence.

"The morning of August 6, 59 years ago, was just another summer morning, but a single atomic bomb changed it into a morning that humankind will never forget," 11-year-old Koya Yurino told the assembly.

Paper cranes symbolizing peace were draped around the park and incense burned on prayer altars as Akiba placed three books containing the names of the bomb's victims under the park's arch-shaped cenotaph.

The names of 5,142 people who died recently were added to the list of victims, bringing the total number recognized by the city to 237,062. A few thousand names are added each year.

The bomb had killed some 140,000 people by the end of 1945, out of Hiroshima's estimated population of 350,000. Thousands more succumbed to illness and injuries later.

The southwestern city of Nagasaki was bombed three days after Hiroshima, leading to Japan's surrender and the end of World War II.

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