Barack Obama to visit Hiroshima in late May?
New Delhi: US President Barack Obama has refused to divulge that he will become the first American President to visit Hiroshima since the city was destroyed by a nuclear weapon more than seven decades ago.
“I think you have to wait until I get to Asia to start asking me Asia questions,” Obama remarked when asked about a potential visit during a news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who visited Hiroshima on April 11, said that Obama wanted to travel there, although he did not know if the President's schedule when he visited Japan for the May 26-27 summit would allow him to.
The White House has last week said that the US government was exploring the first visit by an incumbent US President to Hiroshima. "This is a question about whether or not the president will visit Hiroshima that comes up regularly whenever the president makes plans to travel to Japan. The President will, and his team will obviously consider our options here," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
A US warplane dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, killing thousands of people instantly and about 140,000 by the end of that year. Nagasaki was bombed on August 9, 1945, and Japan surrendered six days later.
No serving US President has visited the site, and it took 65 years for a US ambassador to attend Hiroshima's annual memorial service.