Hiroshima, a Japanese city hit by a US atomic bomb at the end of World War II in 1945, marked the 74th anniversary of the bombing on Tuesday.

An annual memorial ceremony held at the Peace Memorial Park near Ground Zero was attended by about 50,000 audiences paying respect, including representatives from about 90 countries and regions.

During the ceremony, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has delivered a speech while stressing the importance of continuing efforts to realize “a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Abe said, “As the only country that has experienced atomic bombings in war, Japan’s duty to eliminate nuclear weapons remains unchanged even in the Reiwa era”.

Japan is a determination to serve tenaciously as a mediator between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states and take the lead in making such efforts in the international community, he said.

Japan will also continue to promote policies considerate of “hibakusha,” namely atomic bomb survivors in Japan, he added.

Kazumi Matsui, mayor of Hiroshima also delivered the Peace Declaration commemorating 74 years since the atomic bombing.

He called on the central government to “accede” to the request from hibakusha that the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons be “signed and ratified”.

“I urge Japan’s leaders to manifest the pacifism of the Japanese Constitution by displaying leadership in taking the next step toward a world free from nuclear weapons,” Matsui said.

A second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9 the same year and Japan surrendered six days later, prompting the end of the World War II.

The treaty is not yet in force since it has not been ratified by the required 50 states.

This year’s anniversary came after the US on August 2 formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a major Cold War-era nuclear arms control pact with Russia signed in 1987, raising fears of a new arms race.