A bell tolled and there was a minute’s silence to mark the moment 70 years ago when the Japanese city of Nagasaki was obliterated by an atomic bomb.
Dignitaries and guests from 75 countries gathered to mark the anniversary of the bombing, and emphasise the clear wish for it never to happen again.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid a wreath.
“As the only country in the world to have experienced a nuclear attack during conflict, and in accordance with our three non-nuclear principles,” he told the crowd, “I have renewed our vow to lead the world in the effort towards nuclear disarmament, to achieve a world without nuclear weapons.”
For the survivors, there is a combination of sadness and determination.They are adamant it must be the last time. “I never, ever want war to happen again,” said one elderly woman. “When I remember the atomic bomb, it still makes me tremble.” “Out of the five members of my family, four of them died,” said another. “I would never want to go through this experience again.”
At least 70,000 people died in the attack, which came three days after another bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima.
Thousands were killed instantly but many more died a lingering death from radiation sickness.
Japan surrendered days later, the beginning of the end of the Second World War.