Survivors of the 1945 US atomic bombing and residents of Hiroshima say they want to see efforts toward abolition of nuclear weapons, not an apology, from US President Barack Obama.
The remarks were made after Secretary of State John Kerry made a visit to Hiroshima’s atomic bomb museum Monday for the first time by a US leader ahead of a trip by President Barack Obama.
“Everyone should visit Hiroshima, and everyone means everyone,” said Kerry at a news conference on Monday. “Whether or not he can come as president, I don’t know.”
Obama’s possible visit would make him the first sitting US president ever to visit Hiroshima which was devastated by an American nuclear attack 71 years ago.
“If the president is coming to see what really happened here and if that constitutes a step towards the abolition of nuclear arms in future, I don’t think we should demand an apology,” said Takeshi Masuda, a 91-year-old former school teacher.
“It has been really tough for those who lost family members. But if we demand an apology, that would make it impossible for him to come,” he added.
Hiroshi Harada, a former head of the atomic bomb museum said, “President Obama would be making a very delicate political decision to come to Hiroshima.”
“I would want to accept his visit with hopes that it will lead to the next action for the abolition of nuclear arms,” he said.
Harada, who was six at the time of the atomic bombing, said, “At that moment, we saw people burned black, having their skin melted or limbs blown apart.”
“It is unlikely that survivors would be in a cheery, welcoming mood.”
On August 9, 1945, a US warplane dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing thousands of people instantly and about 140,000 by the end of that year.
It was shortly followed by another US atomic bombing on the port city of Nagasaki, killing about 70,000 people three days later.