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FM Kishida seeks Pres. Obama’s visit to Hiroshima during G7 Summit

(Asahi: March 8, 2016 – p. 4)


 By Tetsuya Watanabe, Ryutaro Abe


 Hiroshima is likely to become a focus of great interest during the G7 Ise-Shima Summit on May 26-27, which will be held a month and a half after the G7 foreign ministerial. This is because Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who is elected from Hiroshima, has asked the Foreign Ministry to sound out the U.S. on a visit to Hiroshima by President Barack Obama.


 Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize for his speech in 2009 on a “world without nuclear weapons.” That same year, he said that “I would be honored to make a visit in the future,” indicating his desire to visit the atomic-bombed cities. With less than a year left in his term of office, if he makes the first visit by the leader of the country that dropped the atomic bombs, this is certain to be regarded as a historic event.


 On the other hand, there are also many negative factors that may prevent the visit. The U.S. public still believes strongly that the atomic bombings brought an early end to World War II. If atomic-bombed Japan makes too strong a demand for the visit, this may upset the American people, causing Obama to hesitate in the final days of his administration. There is also persistent public opinion in the U.S. demanding an apology from Japan for the Pearl Harbor attack. It is still uncertain whether a visit by Obama will materialize.

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