Obama to visit Hiroshima on Asia trip

US President, Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima this month, the first serving President to travel to the Japanese city since it was hit by a US bomb in 1945.

The visit will be part of an Asian trip from May 21-28 that will also take in Vietnam.

The Hiroshima bombing on August 6, 1945 killed 140,000 people. Along with a second bombing on Nagasaki, it is credited with ending World War Two.

The White House said there would be no apology for the bombings.

The atomic bomb dome. About 140,000 are believed to have died in the attack on Hiroshima
The atomic bomb dome. About 140,000 are believed to have died in the attack on Hiroshima

A statement from Mr Obama’s press secretary read: “The President will make an historic visit to Hiroshima with Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe to highlight his continued commitment to pursuing peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons.”

Flash back and schedules;

  • The bomb was nicknamed “Little Boy” and was thought to have the explosive force of 20,000 tonnes of TNT
  • Colonel Paul Tibbets, a 30-year-old colonel from Illinois, led the mission to drop the atomic bomb on Japan
  • The Enola Gay, the plane which dropped the bomb, was named in tribute to Colonel Tibbets’ mother
  • The final target was decided less than an hour before the bomb was dropped. The good weather conditions over Hiroshima sealed the city’s fate
  • On detonation, the temperature at the burst-point of the bomb was several million degrees. Thousands of people on the ground were killed or injured instantly
  • In ruling out any apology, the president’s communications adviser, Ben Rhodes said on his twitter page that the US would be “eternally be proud of our civilian leaders and the men and women of our armed forces who served in World War II”.
  • He said that Mr Obama would “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.”
  • He said the visit would “offer an opportunity to honour the memory of all innocents who were lost during the war.”
  • Mr Rhodes added: “The President and his team will make this visit knowing that the open recognition of history is essential to understanding our shared past, the forces that shape the world we live in today, and the future that we seek for our children and grandchildren.”
  • Mr Obama will also take part in the G7 summit in Japan’s Ise-Shima peninsula and hold bilateral talks with Mr Abe.
  • Before that Mr Obama will meet Vietnam’s leadership and deliver a speech in the capital, Hanoi, on US-Vietnam relations.
  • Jimmy Carter has visited Hiroshima, but after the end of his presidency.
  • A US ambassador attended the annual commemoration for the first time in 2010.

 

BBC/Sammie