At the conclusion of the G-7 summit later this month, President Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, making him the first sitting U.S. president to pay a visit to the world’s first atomic bombing site. This trip, which includes meetings with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will “shine a spotlight on the tremendous and devastating human toll of war,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes wrote in a post for Medium on Tuesday.
So, on May 27, the President will visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, a site at the center of the city dedicated to the victims of the atomic bombing, where he will share his reflections on the significance of the site and the events that occurred there. He will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II. Instead, he will offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future.
Obama’s “forward-looking vision” appears to foreshadow a world sans nuclear weapons. “As the president has said, the United States has a special responsibility to continue to lead in pursuit of that objective as we are the only nation to have used a nuclear weapon,” Rhodes writes.
Ahead of Obama’s historic trip, his administration had another first when John Kerry became the first secretary of state to visit Hiroshima. After his trip, Kerry said “everyone” should visit the site. While some are lauding Obama for taking up Kerry’s offer, some critics scoff that his visit to the nuclear site is just another stop on his “apology tour.”