• Kyodo

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Some 200 elementary and junior high school children here paid their respects Sunday to Sadako Sasaki, who died at age 12 a decade after being exposed to radiation in the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

The students gathered at the Children’s Peace Monument in Peace Memorial Park in central Hiroshima to offer prayers to the girl, who has become a symbol of children’s suffering from the bombing. They also called for world peace.

“We were made to think about many things when we looked at the way Sasaki-san lived,” said Yuta Higuchi, 15, in a speech at the gathering held ahead of the 58th anniversary of the bombing on Aug. 6.

“It takes time to build peace, but we will work toward it without being disheartened,” Higuchi added.

Sasaki, the model for the Children’s Peace Monument, was 2 years old when the United States dropped the bomb on Hiroshima during World War II. She developed leukemia 10 years later. While hospitalized, she folded paper cranes praying for recovery before succumbing to the illness.