Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reaffirmed a call for a “world free of nuclear weapons” as he joined a memorial ceremony in Hiroshima to remember the victims of the world’s first atomic bomb 74 years ago.

Bells tolled and about 50,000 people bowed their heads in prayer around the cenotaph to remember the victims of the 1945 attack which killed thousands instantly and 140,000 by the end of the year. 

The moment of silence came at the exact time the bombing occurred over seven decades ago.

After laying a wreath at the memorial, Abe took a moment to reassure the population that Japan’s “mission” to “promote understanding of the devastating reality of atomic bombing” would continue in the country’s new ‘Reiwa’ era.