In this handout picture released by the U.S. Army, the plume of smoke from a mushroom cloud billow, about one hour after the nuclear bomb was detonated above Hiroshima, Japan on Aug. 6, 1945. Pic: AP.

TOKYO (AP) — Japan is marking the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and Mayor Kazumi Matsui called on U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders to visit the city to see the scars of the atomic bombing first hand.

About 45,000 people attended Wednesday’s ceremony in Hiroshima’s peace park near the epicenter of the 1945 attack that killed up to 140,000 people. The bombing of Nagasaki three days later killed another 70,000, prompting Japan’s surrender.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that as the sole country to face nuclear attack, Japan has the duty to seek to eliminate nuclear weapons.

The anniversary comes as Japan is divided over Abe’s recent Cabinet decision to allow the country’s military to defend foreign countries and play greater roles overseas.