2013-08-06 Vatican Radio(Vatican Radio) Japan today marked 68 years since the world's first atomic bombing. Thousands of mourners gathered in Hiroshima, where one speaker described how many survivors later suffered social stigma. A bell rang out as 50,000 people marked a minute's silence at Hiroshima's peace park, near the blast's epicentre.
The bomb killed at least 100,000 people, either immediately or within a few months.
Japan's prime minister addressed the mourners...
...Shinzo Abe said Japan has a duty to ensure that the tragedy is never repeated, saying his presidency would push for the abolition of nuclear weapons worldwide.
The mayor of Hiroshima spoke, too. Every time a nuclear nation conducts an atomic test, his office sends a letter of protest.
In his address on Tuesday, Mayor Kazumi Matsui spoke of...
...the ordeal many survivors suffered. He said post-war Japanese society feared the effects of radiation, and therefore there was discrimination.
Many Hiroshima survivors were excluded from jobs and were denied marriage.
"An atomic bomb steals the lives of innocent people," he said, "and it permanently alters the lives of those who survive it."
On Friday this week, mourners gather for a similar ceremony in Nagasaki, at the moment the second bomb dropped.
Listen to Alastair Wanklyn's report from Tokyo. Listen