U.S. ambassador intends to speak to Obama about visit to Hiroshima

U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos said Tuesday he intends to speak to President Barack Obama about a possible visit to Hiroshima and to convey the impression he had when he recently visited the city that was devastated by an atomic bomb dropped by the United States in World War II.

While noting that a visit to Hiroshima by Obama is ultimately ''up to the president,'' Roos stressed during an interview with Kyodo News that Obama, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize after calling for a nuclear-free world in a speech in Prague in April, was deeply committed toward realizing nuclear disarmament and ending nuclear proliferation, leaving some room for a possible visit by him to the symbolic city.

Roos said repeatedly that his visit to Hiroshima on Sunday was ''deeply moving'' and added that his parents and son had made the trip with him.

''I felt that in order to provide him (Obama) my feelings with respect to Hiroshima, it was important that I see the peace memorial, peace park and the museum and witness it myself. It's a powerful statement. I get emotional talking about it. It was a moving experience for my entire family,'' he said.

He also reacted positively on Hiroshima and Nagasaki's bid to bring the 2020 Olympics to the cities, saying it is ''great.''

''The prospect of hosting the Olympics by Hiroshima and Nagasaki is something that will have to play out, but I commend the mayors for their efforts,'' he said.

Obama is not scheduled to travel to Hiroshima or Nagasaki, the only cities to have suffered atomic bombings, when he visits Japan next month. But hopes are high for his likely visit to the country next fall for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum meeting in Yokohama when the president would stay longer in Japan, which might allow him to make the trip.

(Distributed by Kyodo News on Oct. 13, 2009)

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