News reporters exchange views on significance of Obama’s visit to Hiroshima

by Keiichi Nagayama, Staff Writer

Nearly two years have passed since May 27, 2016, when Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the A-bombed city of Hiroshima. On May 25, a gathering to discuss the significance of Mr. Obama’s visit was held at the Hachidorisha Café in Naka Ward. Three people, including two news reporters who covered Obama’s visit, exchanged views about the outcome of this visit and various related issues.

The participants were Kyosuke Mizukawa, 35, a reporter from the Chugoku Shimbun’s news department; Sonoko Miyazaki, 41, a reporter from the Hiroshima office of the Asahi Shimbun; and Masaaki Murakami, 25, a Peace Memorial Park volunteer guide. Mr. Mizukawa pointed out that A-bomb survivors had hoped that the United States would take the initiative in pursuing the abolition of nuclear weapons. He also mentioned that the Trump administration is seeking to produce smaller-sized nuclear weapons, and expressed concern that the United States is now making moves that run counter to a nuclear-free world.

There had been an argument that the United States did not need to apologize for its A-bomb attacks on Japan, which became a controversial question prior to Mr. Obama’s visit to Hiroshima. Mr. Murakami said that a growing number of people in Japan have come to accept this idea. He also expressed alarm over the fact that a declining number of young Japanese seem to understand the destruction and damage caused by the atomic bombings.

(Originally published on May 26, 2018)