Visit to Hiroshima by U.S. President said difficult to realize next month

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

At a regular news conference on October 8, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano announced that in view of the tight schedule it would be difficult for U.S. President Barack Obama to visit the A-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki when he visits Japan for the first time on November 12 and 13.

On September 24, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama voiced an appeal at the United Nations Security Council Summit in New York, which was attended by Mr. Obama: "I would like to encourage all leaders of the world to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki and absorb with their own eyes and ears the cruelty of nuclear weapons."

Notwithstanding this appeal, Mr. Hirano was pessimistic about a visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the president's first visit to Japan, saying, "Because of the tight schedule, it will be difficult to arrange a visit to the A-bombed cities." He did express hope for a future visit, saying, "I think the president will surely visit the A-bombed cities when he can stay a little longer in Japan."

The cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have repeatedly called on the United States to send President Obama, who has advocated "a world without nuclear weapons," to the A-bombed cities. However, there remain persistent opinions in support of the atomic bombings in the United States. At present, there is no prospect that the president will visit the A-bombed cities.

(Originally published on October 9, 2009)