United States President Barack Obama has stated clearly that in his historic visit to Hiroshima, the first city to suffer an atomic bombing, he would highlight the friendly ties between the former hostile nations, but would not apologize for the devastating attack.
According to the Guardian, Obama will become the first sitting US president to tour the site of the world’s first nuclear bombing this Friday, accompanied by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.
In an interview with Japanese national broadcaster NHK, Obama said the reality is that leaders often have to make hard choices during times of conflict and no apologies would be included in brief remarks he is expected to make in the western Japanese city.
“It’s important to recognize that in the midst of war, leaders make all kinds of decisions, it’s a job of historians to ask questions and examine them. But I know, as somebody who’s now sat in this position for the last seven and half years, that every leader makes very difficult decisions, particularly during wartime.” Obama said.
Obama, who won the Nobel peace prize in 2009 partly for his stance on nuclear non-proliferation, added that emphasis needed to be placed on the current relationship between Washington and Tokyo instead of dwelling on the past.
“I think it is also a happy story about how former adversaries came together to become one of the closest partnerships and closest allies in the world. Since I only have a few months left in the office, I thought it was a good time for me to reflect on the nature of war. Part of my goal is to recognize that innocent people caught in war can suffer tremendously,” he said.
The bomb dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 killed thousands instantly and about 140,000 by the end of the year. Nagasaki was hit on 9 August and Japan surrendered six days later.
A majority of Americans reportedly see the bombings as having been necessary to end the war and save US and Japanese lives, although many historians question that view and most Japanese on the other hand, believe the bombings were unjustified.