West Japan city Hiroshima marked the 60th anniversary of its 1945 atomic bombing Saturday, with the mayor urging the United Nations to establish a committee to try to realize and maintain a nuclear weapon-free world, Kyodo News reported.
"We propose that the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, which will meet in October, establish a special committee to deliberate and plan for the achievement and maintenance of a nuclear weapon-free world," Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba was quoted as saying at a memorial service.
The memorial began at 8 AM (2300 GMT), with a moment of silence observed at 8:15 a.m., the time the world's first atomic bomb detonated above the city at an altitude of about 600 meters, according to Kyodo.
In the peace declaration, Akiba underscored the need for such a committee in the wake of the breakdown in talks of the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in May in New York.
"We expect that the General Assembly will then act on the recommendations from this special committee, adopting by the year 2010 specific steps leading toward the elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020," Akiba said.
The declaration comes as an urgent call for the world to redouble its efforts on disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation after the NPT talks, held every five years, ended without substantive agreement, and in light of existing nuclear arsenals and growing nuclear threats, especially nuclear terrorism.
After the peace declaration was read, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will address the memorial service in which he is expected to vow and maintain the Constitution and Japan's three avowed principles of not producing, possessing, or allowing nuclear weapons on its soil.
Akiba urged the Japanese government to "work energetically in the First Committee and General Assembly to ensure that the abolition of nuclear weapons is achieved by the will of the majority."
For the first time in 10 years, the city also invited atomic-bomb survivors who live outside Japan, Kyodo said.
UN Undersecretary General Nobuyasu Abe will deliver a message from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and its aftereffects had killed an estimated 140,000 people by the end of 1945.
This year, the names of 5,375 more people recognized as atomic-bomb victims by the city since Aug. 6 last year will be added to the cenotaph in the Peace Memorial Park, bringing the total number of victims to 242,437.
The United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945 and World War II ended six days later.
(Xinhua News Agency August 6, 2005)