The bombing of Hiroshima on August 6 in 1945 killed 140,000 people.
About 50,000 people, including Hiroshima residents and representatives from 80 countries, including U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty, attended this year's ceremony.
A minute of silence was observed at 8:15 AM - the exact time the bomb was dropped by the United States on August 6, 1945. Matsui raised concerns in his peace address about the rise of egocentric policies in the world and warned against the idea of nuclear deterrence as a threat to global security. He said those countries are rekindling Cold War tensions.
Nuclear deterrence and nuclear umbrellas are "inherently unstable and extremely dangerous" approaches that seek to maintain worldwide order by only generating fear in rival countries, he said, urging world leaders to negotiate in good faith to eliminate nuclear arsenals instead.
"If the human family forgets history or stops confronting it, we could again commit a awful error", Matsui said at a memorial ceremony.
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"Even without language, once you see the images, you understand, " Mei Okada, one of the pupils working on the project at a high school in Fukuyama, 100km east of Hiroshima, said. Matsui said these nations are "explicitly expressing self-centered nationalism" while modernizing their nuclear weapons. "I want Japan to work toward eliminating nuclear weapons", Ota added. Japan, which hosts USA troops on its land and falls under the protections of the US's nuclear umbrella, has not signed the treaty.
Matsui specifically called on Japan's government to play a "proper role" in ridding the world of all nuclear arms.
The 73rd anniversary comes after Pyongyang's promise of a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula grabbed attention following the historic U.S.
"Ultimately, I myself will have to directly face chairman Kim Jong Un and engage in dialogue and resolve the nuclear, missile and, above all, the all-important abduction issue, and then build new Japan-North Korea relations", Abe said in Hiroshima on Monday.
"Maintaining its three nonnuclear principles, our country is determined to make strenuous efforts to serve as a bridge between both parties", Abe said.
"Themes will key on current concerns about the potential use of nuclear weapons, the status of safeguards and monitors on the inventory of such weapons around the world, (including in the U.S.) and re-exploring the long memory about the terrible loss of life caused by two nuclear bombs dropped on two different Japanese cities within days of each other", according to a news release from the Arkansas Coalition for Peace and Justice.