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Record 115 Countries to Attend Hiroshima Peace Ceremony

Record 115 Countries to Attend Hiroshima Peace Ceremony

   Hiroshima, July 8 (Jiji Press)--Representatives from a record 115 countries plus the European Union are slated to attend this year's peace memorial ceremony in the western Japan city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, the municipal government said Monday.
   The ceremony marks the 79th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the city in the closing days of World War II. The current record is 111 countries plus the EU, marked last year.
   Among nuclear weapons states, Britain, France, India and Israel are expected to take part in the ceremony, while the United States has not yet made a decision and China, Pakistan and North Korea have yet to respond. An invitation was not sent to Russia for the third straight year.
   "As wars and conflicts continue around the globe, the reality of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the desire for peace may have attracted renewed attention," a city official said on the increase in expected participants.
   Groups of hibakusha atomic bomb survivors opposed extending an invitation to Israel, which continues to fight in the Gaza Strip. The Hiroshima official said that "a note was added to the invitation urging the country to refer to the message of hibakusha and take a step toward peace, especially at a time like this."

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