Air Force One landed at Iwakuni Marine Air Station, Japan, on Friday. President Barack Obama spoke and met up with service members of the base. He expressed his thanks to the troops which symbolized the strong alliance between the Japanese and American military. He mentioned “This afternoon I will visit Hiroshima.”
Obama said “This is an opportunity to honor the memory of all those who were lost in Word War II. It’s a chance to pursue peace and security, a world where nuclear weapons would no longer be necessary.”
President Obama will be the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima. He will be laying a wreath at the cenotaph in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park. The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Three days later, Nagasaki was hit by a second atomic bomb.
The president responded to Asahi newspaper in writing: “I’m coming, first and foremost, to remember and honor the tens of millions of lives lost during the Second World War. Hiroshima reminds us that war, no matter the cause or countries involved, results in tremendous suffering and loss, especially for innocent civilians.”
Obama has firmly stated that he will not apologize nor question the decision of using atomic weapons during the Second World War.
Many survivors of Hiroshima are to meet with the president to tell their horrific and painful stories. Some of them believe this is a good start for Obama to pursue a nuclear-free world.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be accompanying Obama at Hiroshima. This week, Prime Minister Abe was also offered to visit Pearl Harbor but the prime minister said that there are currently no plans to visit.