Report: US to propose Obama visit Hiroshima in late May

By REUTERS
April 22, 2016 16:32
1 minute read.

 
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The United States will propose that President Barack Obama visits Hiroshima, Japan's Nikkei newspaper said on Friday, in what would be the first visit by an incumbent US president to the city devastated by a US nuclear attack 71 years ago.

Citing an unidentified senior US government official, the business daily said Washington planned to propose to Tokyo a visit by the president on May 27, at the end of a Group of Seven (G7) summit hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

In Washington, a White House official said no decision has been made.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denied the visit was being arranged and declined further comment. Diplomatic protocol means any announcement should come from the US side.

"It is not true that a visit to Hiroshima by President Obama is being arranged between the United States and Japan," Suga told a regular news conference.

"The schedule of the US president is a matter for the United States to decide. The (Japanese) government will refrain from comment."

A US warplane dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, killing thousands of people instantly and about 140,000 by the end of that year. Nagasaki was bombed on Aug. 9, 1945, and Japan surrendered six days later.

A presidential visit would be controversial in the United States if it were seen as an apology.

A majority of Americans view the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as justified to end the war and save US lives. The vast majority of Japanese think the bombings were unjustified.

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