Photo of Hiroshima mayor and President Obama shaking hands deleted from website

by Uzaemonnaotsuka Tokai, Staff Writer

On February 5, it was learned that the photo showing Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba and U.S. President Barack Obama shaking hands was deleted from the website of the United States Conference of Mayors. Mayor Akiba met with President Obama at the White House on January 21. According to a city official, they asked the reason for the deletion through e-mail, but there has been no response.

Mayor Akiba took part in the 77th winter meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors held in Washington D.C. from January 20 through 22, and visited President Obama with members of the conference. The conference website posted about 200 photos showing their members shaking hands with President Obama, one after another, including the one of Mayor Akiba with President Obama.

The photo was distributed to the media with the credit "from the website of the United States Conference of Mayors" at a press conference held on January 26, after the mayor returned to Japan. However, by the evening of the following day, the photo had been deleted from the website. The International Peace Promotion Department, which sent an e-mail on January 29 to inquire about the deletion, said, "We cannot issue a comment since we have not received any response and do not know the reason."

Mayor Akiba had shared that he asked President Obama to come to Hiroshima when they met, and that the president replied, "I'd like to come." Meanwhile, it is said that there is strong opposition in the United States to a visit by the president to the A-bombed cities.

(Originally published on February 6, 2009)

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