President Barack Obama will become the first sitting United States President to visit Hiroshima, Japan the The New York Times reports.
He plans to visit the site where America first used an atomic bomb in World War II killing over 100,000 people.
“The memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are etched in the minds of the world, and I would be honored to have the opportunity to visit those cities at some point during my presidency,” Obama had said on his first visit to Japan in 2009.
The United States is the only country to have used nuclear weapons on another country, and the White House believes that it should act as leaders in the goal of proliferation. The forthcoming visit will serve as a reminder of the destruction that nuclear weapons can inflict, not as a formal apology to Japan.
“He will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II,” Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes wrote in a post on Medium. “Instead, he will offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future.”
A leading antinuclear activist in Hiroshima who was burned by the bomb blast in August of 1945, welcomed President Obama’s visit. Sunao Tsuboi, now 91, hopes Obama’s visit would “project a broad antinuclear message.”
“I was one of the first people who said Obama should visit Hiroshima,” he told NHK, Japan’s national public broadcaster. “Good for him for coming.”
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