Hiroshima memorial visit: unspoken apology or commitment to disarmament?
While some Japanese still want an apology for the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Obama Administration called the first official US visit to the annual Hiroshima commemoration a demonstration of its commitment to nuclear disarmament.
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Roos did not speak and declined to comment to reporters after the event. In a statement released through the US embassy in Tokyo, he said he had attended to “show respect for all of the victims” of the war.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Remembering Hiroshima
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“On the 65th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, it is fitting that we renew our determination to ensure that such a conflict is never again repeated,” the statement said. “We also share a common goal of advancing President Obama's vision of a world without nuclear weapons.''
After laying flowers at the Eternal Flame monument to the victims, Ban said: “Life is short, but memory is long. For many of you, that day endures … as vivid as the white light that seared the sky, as dark as the black rains that followed.”
Hopes that President Obama will visit Japan
Roos’s presence has raised hopes in Hiroshima that Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit the city when he attends a meeting of Apec leaders in Japan in November. The White House says there are no plans, as yet, for Obama to accept the invitation.
Jimmy Carter visited Hiroshima peace museum in 1984, long after he left office, while Roos made a private visit soon after being appointed ambassador last year.
The mayor of Hiroshima, Tadatoshi Akiba, welcomed Washington’s decision to send a representative. “We need to communicate to every corner of the globe the intense yearning of the survivors for the abolition of nuclear weapons,” he told a crowd of 55,000 that included survivors and relatives of the victims.
But a small group of leftwing protesters objected to Roos’s presence, displaying a banner that read: "US, take your nukes and go home."
"Whether they will accept it or not, dropping the A-bomb saved our lives and their lives, Japanese lives," said Van Kirk. "If we had had to invade Japan, Japanese casualties would have been much, much, much higher ... I regret we had to do it. But I think we had to do it in order to end the war with a minimum loss of life."
IN PICTURES: Hiroshima bombing 65th anniversary