President Joe Biden has vowed to strive toward a world free of nuclear weapons as he visited a museum here documenting the devastation caused by a U.S. atomic bomb in 1945 during World War II.
Mr. Biden is the second U.S. sitting President after Barack Obama to set foot in Hiroshima, the site of the world’s first nuclear attack.
He and the other G-7 leaders, including from fellow nuclear powers Britain and France, made an unprecedented joint visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Japan’s Kyodo News agency reported on May 20.
“May the stories of this Museum remind us all of our obligations to build a future of peace,” Mr. Biden wrote in the guest book of the museum, which he visited with other Group of Seven (G-7) leaders at the start of the three-day summit in western Japan on May 19.
“Together let us continue to make progress toward the day when we can finally and forever rid the world of nuclear weapons. Keep the faith!” he added.
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The facility displays belongings left behind by victims, photos, and other materials that convey the horror of the dropping of the U.S. atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The attack is estimated to have killed 140,000 people by the end of 1945.
A second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, southwestern Japan, on August 9, and Japan surrendered six days later, prompting the end of World War II.
Mr. Biden did not make any statement at the park after leaving the museum. He took part with other G-7 leaders in a wreath-laying ceremony at a cenotaph for the atomic bomb victims at the park.
First Lady Jill Biden, meanwhile, wrote in the museum’s guest book, “On the occasion of the G7, as we gather to continue building a world that is peaceful and free, this museum reminds us of our purpose. Thank you for your warm welcome.” When Mr. Obama stopped by Hiroshima in 2016, a trip made on the occasion of the previous G-7 summit in Japan, he delivered a speech and met with representatives of atomic bomb survivors at the city’s Peace Memorial Park, while also briefly visiting the museum.
The details of the G-7 leaders’ joint visit to the museum have not been disclosed by the Japanese Government, except for their holding exchanges with an atomic bomb survivor.
The reticence possibly takes heed of widespread views in the U.S. that the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan was necessary to end World War II quickly, the news agency said.
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said earlier that Mr. Biden has no plans to issue an apology on behalf of the United States for the use of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima during his trip to the city.
The visit by the leaders, including those from nuclear powers the United States, France and Britain, was a long-awaited event for atomic bomb survivors who hope that getting to know the consequences of a nuclear attack will add fresh impetus to stalled efforts to abolish nuclear arms, the report said.
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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is chairing the G7 summit and represents a Hiroshima constituency, has set nuclear disarmament as a key agenda item at a time when the risks of nuclear weapons use remain high amid Russia’s nuclear threat in its war in Ukraine and China’s rapid nuclear forces buildup.
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“We felt the reality of the atomic bombing and shared a sobering moment that will be etched in our hearts,” Mr. Kishida, a lawmaker from a constituency in Hiroshima, told reporters later. “It was historic from the viewpoint of showing our resolve for a world free of nuclear weapons.”
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