Where First A-Bomb Fell, Prayers Ask 'Never Again'

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HIROSHIMA, Japan, Aug. 6 - At 8:15 a.m. Saturday, as tens of thousands of Japanese bowed their heads here to mark the instant when an atomic bomb fell 60 years ago, only the loud, telltale buzz of the summer cicadas broke the respectful silence.

In an hourlong ceremony at the Peace Memorial Park, participants, as in previous years, laid wreaths, burned incense, prayed for the souls of the dead, and gave impassioned pleas for world peace and the abolition of nuclear arms. Few in Hiroshima can remember an Aug. 6 that was not oppressively hot, and Saturday morning's blazing sun matched expectation and memory.

Still, on the 60th anniversary of the world's first atomic bomb attack, some members of the aging and dwindling population of survivors expressed worries that Japan was shedding its postwar pacifism. The survivors, whose suffering had long made them Japan's most eloquent advocates for pacifism, said recent policy changes inside Japan had made them deeply pessimistic.


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