Page last updated at 08:41 GMT, Tuesday, 2 September 2008 09:41 UK

Pelosi visits Hiroshima memorial

Nancy Pelosi lays a bouquet at the altar for the atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima, 2 September 2008
Pelosi is next in line to the presidency after Vice-President Cheney

The speaker of the US House of Representatives has laid flowers at a Japanese memorial to atom bomb victims.

Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, is the highest ranking US figure to visit the site in Hiroshima, the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack.

More than 140,000 people were killed by the American bomb, dropped towards the end of World War II in 1945.

Mrs Pelosi is in Japan for a meeting of parliamentary speakers from the Group of Eight (G8) major industrial nations.

Mrs Pelosi and the other G8 delegates visited Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park before heading into an all-day meeting.

The speaker of the House of Representatives is the third most senior politician in the US, after the president and vice-president.

Although former President Jimmy Carter visited the memorial in 1984, his presidency had ended at the time and the visit was not made in any official capacity.

The bombing of Hiroshima marked the beginning of the end of the war in the Pacific.

A US B-29 plane dropped the five-tonne "Little Boy" bomb on the morning of 6 August 1945.

Three days later, a second nuclear bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki, killing about 80,000 people.

Japan surrendered a week later.

0812 local time, 6 August 1945:
1. American B-29 bomber Enola Gay approaches Hiroshima at an altitude of about 9,357 metres, and begins its bombing run
2. At 0815 it releases the atomic bomb Little Boy
3. The aircraft then performs a sharp, 155-degree right turn and dives an estimated 518 metres
4. At 0816, the bomb explodes with a force of 13 kilotons at a height of approximately 576 metres above the city
5. About a minute later the first shock wave, travelling at about 335 metres per second, hits the aircraft

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