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Hiroshima to drop Russia's Putin from peace memorial ceremony invitee list

This file photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter shows Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in the city of Hiroshima. The Atomic Bomb Dome is seen in the background. (Mainichi/Kenji Ikai)

HIROSHIMA -- Hiroshima Municipal Government officials revealed on May 20 that the city will not invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to its annual peace memorial ceremony this year over his country's invasion of Ukraine.

    Putin had consistently been invited to the yearly ceremony at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on Aug. 6, the day the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city in 1945.

    "We are concerned that the ceremony would stray from its original spirit of 'commemoration,'" a municipal government statement said. The city intends to send invitation letters to about 90 overseas dignitaries including the United Nations' secretary-general and national leaders.

    Some 3,550 seats will be prepared for ceremony attendees this year, about four times the number in 2020 and 2021. The event was drastically scaled down in those two years to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections. Seats for the public will also be set up for the first time in three years.

    (Japanese original by Kiyomasa Nakamura, Hiroshima Bureau)

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