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Hiroshima residents’ reaction to visit by Secretary Kerry

Most national dailies this morning ran extensive reports in their inside-page city news sections on the reactions of A-bomb victims and local residents to Secretary of State Kerry’s visit to Hiroshima. Asahi quoted Sunao Tsuboi, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and co-chair of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Organizations, as saying that it was a major step for the G7 foreign ministers to stand in front of the cenotaph at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Yomiuri also quoted Tsuboi as saying that the Secretary’s visit to the Hiroshima memorial will be a starting point toward abolishing nuclear arms. Tsuboi expressed his hope that the President will also visit Hiroshima.


Asahi wrote that students in Hiroshima expressed mixed reactions. A group of high school students, who gave a presentation to the spouses of the foreign ministers on their activities to seek a world without nuclear weapons, welcomed the ministers’ tour of the Hiroshima peace park, including their unscheduled visit to the Atomic Bomb Dome, as a positive sign of their interest in nuclear disarmament. However, a student guide at the park expressed his dissatisfaction that the ministers did not hold talks with A-bomb survivors.


Mainichi quoted a young woman whose grandmother is an A-bomb survivor as saying that the fact that a G7 foreign ministerial was held in Hiroshima is historic and that she hopes that President Obama will also visit the city. However, a college student was quoted as saying that it is doubtful whether the Hiroshima Declaration will have any impact on nuclear nonproliferation. He added, though, that if President Obama listens to the stories of the survivors, it will have an impact on U.S. policy.


Sankei quoted an 11-year-old girl who handed a wreath to the Secretary at the ceremony at the peace park as saying: “He smiled at me, said ‘thank you,’ and shook my hand. There are a lot of things in Hiroshima that contain messages of peace. I’m glad that he actually saw them here.”

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