A large-scale memorial service for victims of the Great Tokyo Air Raid, in which about 100,000 people were killed, was held in Sumida Ward, Tokyo, on Tuesday, the 70th anniversary of the bombing.
About 600 surviving victims and bereaved family members offered prayers at a remembrance hall.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the memorial service, the first prime minister to have attended such a service.
Prince Akishino and his wife, Princess Kiko, also were present. As 70 years will pass this year since the end of the World War II, many of the attendees were elderly.
In a speech at the service, Abe said, "With a pledge of peace, we sincerely face up to the nation's past, and vow to contribute to eternal peace of the world as far as possible, remembering with deep awareness the tragic lessons from the war in our minds."
The Great Tokyo Air Raid was conducted before dawn on March 10, 1945, mainly on today's Koto, Sumida and Taito wards. About 320 US B-29 bombers dropped a total of 320,000 bombs in a firebombing attack that devastated a vast area in Tokyo.