Residents in the Japanese city of Hiroshima are commemorating the 70th anniversary of the first atomic bomb being dropped by a US aircraft.
It claimed the lives of at least 140,000 people in the city.
A ceremony, attended by PM Shinzo Abe, was held at Hiroshima’s memorial park before thousands of lanterns are released on the city’s Motoyasu river.
How do we explain these civilian deaths to our children? How do we explain the two World Wars, and the hundreds of wars that have taken place in various places on planet Earth since 1945? How do we talk to them about the thousands of nuclear weapons that currently exist? How do we talk to them about human values, and the concept of peace and non-violence between people and nations?
Those of us fortunate enough to have visited Japan many times invariably have the utmost respect for Japanese culture and the Japanese people. Those of us who have experienced Japanese kindness and generosity from strangers and friends alike will be thinking about the people of Japan on this momentous day.
Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe and foreign delegates were among the tens of thousands who congregated at the Peace Memorial Park to observe a moment of silence at 8:15 am local time (2315 GMT), when the detonation turned the western Japanese city into an inferno.
The now-bustling city’s mayor Kazumi Matsui said nuclear weapons were an “absolute evil” as he urged the world to put an end to them forever.
“To coexist we must abolish the absolute evil and ultimate inhumanity that are nuclear weapons. Now is the time to start taking action,” he said in his speech.