By Masakatsu Ota, KYODO NEWS
U.S. ambassador to Japan John Roos gave an interview to Kyodo News at his official residence in Tokyo on Oct. 13. He expressed his intention to convey his views on the pros and cons of President Barack Obama’s visit to the A-bombed city of Hiroshima next year onward to the president himself in the near future based on his own visit to the city on Oct. 4.
The ambassador stressed that he was “deeply moved” by his visit to Hiroshima. As for Obama’s visit, he said, “The president will make a final decision.” But he also said, “The president is deeply involved in the goals of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation,” hinting at the possibility that Obama, who advocates a “nuclear-free world,” will visit the Japanese city.
Roos also said that a joint bid by Hiroshima and Nagasaki cities to host the 2020 Olympic Games is “wonderful” and that he “praises the two mayors’ efforts.”
President Obama, who will come to Japan next month, does not plan to go to Hiroshima during the upcoming visit. But there are expectations that he will visit the city when he stays in Japan for a longer period of time, such as next autumn, when the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit is held in Yokohama. Calls by the Japanese public for Obama’s visit to Hiroshima are likely to grow, driven by the announcement that the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to the president for his nuclear disarmament initiative.
Roos said that he went to Hiroshima soon after his arrival in Japan because he “thought it’s important that I become a witness by visiting the peace memorial museum and associated sites before offering my views to the president.” The ambassador also said that he wanted to make his visit to Hiroshima an “opportunity to share the stories of A-bomb survivors” among the “three generations” — his parents, who were then visiting Japan, and his son, who now lives in Japan.
Roos added that it was a “touching experience for me and my family” and repeatedly expressed his empathy for the A-bombed cities. He did not elaborate on his advice to the president but said, “I’m looking forward to talking with the president.”