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Behind-the-scenes report on Secretary Kerry’s visit to memorial museum

The program reported on Monday evening that with the conflict between the nuclear powers and nonnuclear powers “at its worst” since the end of the Cold War, the GOJ had difficulty arranging a visit by the G7 foreign ministers to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The program said the U.S. in particular was opposed to the visit to the museum in light of the deep-rooted view within the U.S. that the atomic bombings were necessary to end the war. The program said that after MOFA realized that the U.S. side was concerned about media coverage of the Secretary’s visit to the museum because of potential backlash at home, MOFA relied on Ambassador Kennedy to persuade the Secretary to visit the museum. Showing FM Kishida with Ambassador Kennedy and the other G7 envoys at an informal dinner he hosted in Tokyo, the program said that since she believed that there might be less opposition if the Secretary visited the museum together with other foreign ministers, MOFA asked her to convey this view to the State Department. The program said the negotiations concluded one week prior to the foreign ministerial and it was agreed that the Secretary would visit the museum on the condition that the visit would be closed to the media. The program said the negotiations highlighted the difficulty of moving forward with nuclear disarmament, adding that while the Secretary stressed the significance of his visit to the museum at the press conference, he was wary of his visit sparking discussion on the legitimacy of the atomic bombings.

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