Japan Observes Ironic Nuclear Anniversary

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HIROSHIMA, Japan, Aug. 6 (UPI) — The 66th anniversary of the world’s first atomic attack was marked Saturday in Hiroshima by Japan’s prime minister, who disavowed nuclear policies.

Naoto Kan told a crowd of thousands he wanted to steer the country away from nuclear power dependency, the Kyodo News Agency reported.

The United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on the city in 1945 and killed more than 275,000 people.

The anniversary comes under the shadow of an ongoing nuclear crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant in eastern Japan, where radiation has been leaking since a March 11 earthquake and tsunami ravaged the country.

Kan laid a wreath at the Hiroshima memorial for the victims and then spoke of his intentions to reduce the country’s reliance on atomic energy, the BBC said.

“Japan will reduce its level of reliance on nuclear power generation with the aim of becoming a society that is not dependent on nuclear power,” he said.

At the ceremony, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui echoed the call for nuclear policy review, saying the government should “institute concrete countermeasures to regain the understanding and trust of the people,” Kyodo reported.

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