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US President Obama may visit Hiroshima during Japan trip

Buenos Aires: The White House is considering a possible visit by President Barack Obama to Hiroshima, the Japanese city devastated in history's first atomic bombing at the close of World War II, a US official told AFP.

The official, who asked not to be named, said the details of Obama's visit to Japan for a Group of Seven summit in late May had yet to be finalised, but a trip to Hiroshima had not been ruled out.

Obama is scheduled to participate in the summit of leading democracies in central Japan's Mie prefecture.

President Barack Obama. AP

President Barack Obama. AP

In 2008, then-House speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Hiroshima, becoming the highest, sitting US political figure to visit the city.

Japan has long urged world leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki to see the horrors of the atomic bombings and join efforts to eradicate nuclear arms.

Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese government's top spokesman, refrained from directly commenting on the reports, but reiterated Tokyo's position.

"The government has always called on leaders around the world to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki to see for themselves the reality of atomic bombings," Suga said.

"We believe (visits) are important to boost international momentum toward achieving a world without nuclear arms."

Washington will make its final decision after a planned trip to Hiroshima by US Secretary of State John Kerry for a meeting of the G7 foreign ministers on April 10-11.

On 6 August, 1945, the US dropped the world's first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing about 140,000 people, including those who survived the explosion itself but died soon after due to severe radiation exposure.

Three days later, the US military dropped a plutonium bomb on the port city of Nagasaki, killing some 74,000 people.

The bombings are controversial in the United States, where opinion remains divided over whether their use in the closing days of World War II was justified.


Updated Date: Mar 23, 2016 21:33 PM

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