TOKYO — Hiroshima marked the anniversary of the Aug. 6, 1945 atomic bombing of the city with a somber ceremony Monday to remember those killed and injured and a call to eliminate nuclear weapons amid hopes of denuclearizing North Korea.

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui opened his speech by describing the hellish scene of the blast that morning 73 years ago and the agony of the victims, telling the audience to listen “as if you and your loved ones were there.”

Then he raised concerns about the global rise of egocentrism and tensions, and urged Japan’s government to take more leadership toward achieving a truly nuclear-free world.

“Certain countries are blatantly proclaiming self-centered nationalism and modernizing their nuclear arsenals, rekindling tensions that had eased with the end of the Cold War,” Matsui said, without identifying the nations.

Nuclear deterrence and nuclear umbrellas are “inherently unstable and extremely dangerous” approaches that seek to maintain international order by only generating fear in rival countries, he said, urging world leaders to negotiate in good faith to eliminate nuclear arsenals instead.

The U.S. attack on Hiroshima killed 140,000 people, and the bombing of Nagasaki killed more than 70,000 three days later, leading to Japan’s surrender and ending World War II.

Matsui said in his speech that Japan’s government should do more to achieve a nuclear-free world by helping the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons take effect.

But Japan, which hosts U.S. troops and is covered by the U.S. nuclear umbrella protecting it from attack, has not signed the treaty.

Japan should live up to the spirit of its pacifist constitution to lead the international community “toward dialogue and cooperation for a world without nuclear weapons,” Matsui said.

About 50,000 people, Hiroshima residents and representatives from 58 countries, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty, attended this year’s ceremony.

Survivors, their relatives and other participants marked the 8:15 a.m. blast with a minute of silence.

The anniversary comes amid hopes to denuclearize North Korea after President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made vague aspirational statements of denuclearizing the peninsula when they met in Singapore in June.

“We in civil society fervently hope that the easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula will proceed through peaceable dialogue,” Matsui said.

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