Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday he will take part in peace memorial ceremonies to be held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of the cities.
This year’s ceremonies will be scaled back due to concerns around the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“I will offer my deepest condolences to the spirits of those who have been victimized by the atomic bombings in this milestone year of the 75th anniversary,” Abe told a meeting between the government and ruling coalition ahead of the annual events to be held Thursday in Hiroshima and Sunday in Nagasaki.
“We can never repeat the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” Abe said, vowing to uphold the country’s three nonnuclear principles of not producing, possessing or allowing the introduction of nuclear weapons and to play the role as a bridge between the nuclear and nonnuclear weapon states.
The U.S. Embassy in Japan said the same day Deputy Chief of Mission Nicholas Hill will take part in the ceremonies in both cities.
“The ceremonies are an opportunity to honor those who lost their lives, and to reflect on our shared vision of peace,” the embassy said in a statement.
The Hiroshima Municipal Government said last month representatives from 93 countries and the European Union are expected to attend its peace memorial event, the second-largest figure since 100 countries took part in 2015 on the occasion of the 70th anniversary.
The Nagasaki Municipal Government also said last week it expects to see 74 countries, the second-largest total, send officials to the event. A record-high 75 nations attended in 2015.
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