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HIROSHIMA — Nearly 60 people gathered in the rain here August 5 at a small cenotaph dedicated to Korean victims of the atomic bombing in a ceremony to mark the 52nd anniversary of the attack.

Gathered in drenching rain before the cenotaph, which sits off a busy intersection just outside of Peace Memorial Park, Korean residents of Japan and city officials paid their respects in the 27th annual ceremony. According to information on the monument, some 20,000 Koreans perished in the Aug. 6, 1945 blast. At that time, about 100,000 Koreans were living in the city, some in service to the Imperial Japanese Army as soldiers and civilian workers. A good many, however, were slave laborers, conscripted by the Japanese government for industrial work.

In addition, the names of 29 Koreans who died during the past year were added to the list of bomb victims who have been identified by a pro-South Korean group, bringing the total of such victims to 2,242. The victims’ ashes were placed in the cenotaph at the start of the ceremony. Representatives from South Korean support groups offered prayers and laid flowers at the monument afterward.

Songs honoring the dead were then sung in Korean, and children paid tribute by placing paper cranes before the cenotaph. The cenotaph was established in 1970 by the pro-South Korean Organization of Korean Residents in Japan (Mindan). Since then, the Hiroshima Municipal Government has refused to allow a cenotaph to be placed inside the memorial park.

The municipal government has offered to build a separate monument for all Korean victims. But disagreements between Mindan and a pro-North Korea group over the inscription and design of the monument have held up the project.

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