Seventy-four years ago this week, two U.S. atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, taking the lives of roughly 200,000 people almost instantly in what were the first and so far only nuclear attacks in history. Days later Japan surrendered, ending World War II. The annual memorial for the atomic bombing victims held by the city of Hiroshima on Tuesday was the first to be held in the new imperial era of Reiwa.

The transition from Showa to Heisei to Reiwa testifies to the decades that have passed since the atomic bombings, and the number of people with firsthand experience of the 1945 atomic bombings is steadily falling. The people who survived the horrific bombings are growing old — 82.65 years old on average — and the number of survivors is declining by more than 9,000 each year. As of the end of March, the number of hibakusha stood at 145,844.

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