60 years to the day… Japan remembers Hiroshima. Thousands of paper lanterns symbolising the souls of the dead are floated on a river next to the city’s Peace Park, the epicenter of the blast that killed, either directly or as a result of its aftermath, a hundred and forty thousand people. At 8.15 in the morning local time, the precise moment (20) when the bomb struck, a bell is tolled. The dropping of the atomic bomb, released from a US warplane called Enola Gay, has been seen as marking a change in the course of history – the moment when mankind acquired the means to bring about its own destruction. Japan’s prime minister Junichiro Koizumi pledged that his country would abide by its pacifist constitution and foreswear nuclear weapons.He then released a thousand doves. US leaders said the atomic blast was necessary to speed up the end of the war and spare allied lives. Japan capitulated nine days later. Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which also came under nuclear attack, were deeply scarred by the experience. Young people were to the fore in the commemoration ceremonies, staging a die-in protest at the foot of the A-bomb dome, the only building that survived the attack.