Obama to visit Hiroshima, make anti-nuclear speech

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US President Barack Obama is likely to make historic visit to Hiroshima during the G7 summit to be held in Japan in May. Mr Obama will be the first sitting President to visit Hiroshima. The city was devastated by a US nuclear attack in 1945. Mr Obama’s visit is expected to take place after the summit of Group of 7 leaders hosted by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in late May, Japan’s newspaper Nikkei said. The report cited unnamed US officials.

The visit by Mr Obama comes after a trip by Secretary of State John Kerry earlier in April. The site commemorates one of the final acts of World War II. Mr Kerry had visited the city’s Atomic Bomb Dome and peace museum. He called the graphic images of the bombing’s aftermath a “gut-wrenching display.”

The bombings of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 are accepted in the US as they consider that it prevented a bloodier land battle. The US strategists have said that it hastened the end of the Pacific War. The visit by Mr Obama could stir controversy in the US and trigger debate among the Presidential aspirants seeking to succeed him.

The Nikkei report further stated that Mr Obama is likely to take care to ensure the visit does not appear apologetic. In his address, he is expected to make a speech calling for a world without nuclear weapons. Jeff Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple University in Japan said: “It is high time that a sitting US president paid respects at Hiroshima to strengthen ties, boost US moral authority on history issues and to give much-needed momentum to Obama’s nuclear agenda.”

This visit could add to Mr Obama’s legacy of making course correction on major historic incidents. Improved relationship with Cuba and the nuclear deal with Iran are examples of this US policy.

 

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