President Barack Obama will be visiting Hiroshima during his Asian trip from 21 – 28 May. He will be the first sitting American president is going to visit Hiroshima. The president will be accompanied by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when visiting the peace park. Prime Minister Abe mentioned that “The prime minister of the world’s only nation to have suffered atomic attacks, and the leader of the world’s only nation to have used the atomic weapons at war will together pay respect for the victims” and added “I believe that would be a way to respond to the victims of the atomic bombings and the survivors who are still in pain.”
Earlier in his presidency, President Obama, said he would like to stop in one of the cities before leaving office. The president is said to continue to pursue his policy for a nuclear-free world. However, many Americans view this trip as an apology for dropping the atomic bomb. Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security adviser, stated “He (President Obama) will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II.”
Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary, said “What President Obama will do is make note of the fact that the relationship between the United States and Japan has emerged stronger than anybody could have imagined back in 1945.”
Sunao Tsuboi, a survivor of the bombing and head of survivors group in the western Japanese city, told NHK television that “We are not asking for an apology” but “All we want is to see him lay flowers at the peace park and lower his head in silence. This would be a first step toward abolishing nuclear weapons.”
August 6, 1945, United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima killing 140,000 people and the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki three days later killing 70,000 people. The Japanese suffered much from the bombings and Japan announced it would surrender.
In his trip, President Obama will be participating in the G7 summit in Japan’s Ise-Shima peninsula and hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Abe.