HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) Representatives from a record 67 countries will attend this year’s peace memorial service marking the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the municipal government said.

The figure tops the previous record of 59 countries last year.

The world’s first city to come under atomic attack asked 149 countries to send delegates, municipal officials said.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is scheduled to deliver a speech. International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano, a Japanese national, will also attend the service.

Among nuclear powers, France will send its charge d’affaires for the first time, while Russia will be represented by a first secretary at its embassy in Tokyo.

Pakistan will be represented by its consul general in Osaka and Israel by its ambassador to Japan for the second year in a row.

The annual service will begin as usual at 8 a.m. Aug. 6 at Peace Memorial Park and last 45 minutes.

The number of participants is expected to top last year’s 50,000. Among them will be 41 representatives of relatives of people killed in the bombing.

The city expects Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Akira Nagatsuma to represent the government, the officials said.

Norihiro Ishikawa, 31, a Hiroshima resident who is one of the 41 representatives of the relatives, will ring the Peace Bell.

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