Azerbaijan became the latest nation among countries around the world to accept a peace stone from a Hiroshima-based civic group, according to Kyodo News.
The Stone for Peace Association of Hiroshima delivered the paving stone that survived the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of the Japanese city, engraved with an image of Buddhist goddess of mercy, to representatives of the Azerbaijan government during a ceremony at the Museum of Fine Arts of Baku.
Azerbaijan Deputy Prime Minister Elchin Efendiyev, Culture and Tourism Minister Abulfas Garayev and Japanese Ambassador Tsuguo Takahashi attended the ceremony.
Azerbaijani Culture and Tourism Minister Garayev said that accepting the peace stone symbolizes Azerbaijan's active efforts to promote global peace. Japanese Ambassador Takahashi said the peace stone represents "a new step toward further developing relations between Japan and Azerbaijan."
Michio Umemoto, head of the Hiroshima civic group, referring to the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this year, said the stone is starting "a new life" in the Azerbaijan capital.
The granite stone is about 50 centimeters square and weighs about 50 kilograms. It was one of the paving stones for Hiroshima streetcar tracks that were just 200 meters from ground zero.
More than 100 countries have so far received or agreed to receive the stone, which also has the English words "From Hiroshima" engraved on it since the start of the donation campaign in 1991.