Barack Obama became the first incumbent U.S. president to visit Hiroshima on Friday, laying a wreath at the site of the world’s first atomic bombing in a gesture Tokyo and Washington hope will showcase their alliance and invigorate efforts to end nuclear arms.
Even before it occurred, though, the visit stirred debate, with critics accusing both sides of having selective memories and pointing to paradoxes in policies relying on nuclear deterrence while calling for an end to atomic arms.
The two governments hope Obama’s tour of Hiroshima, where an atomic bomb killed thousands instantly on Aug. 6, 1945, and some 140,000 by the year’s end, underscores a new level of reconciliation and tighter ties between the former enemies.
“We come to ponder the terrible force unleashed in a not-so-distant past,” Obama said after laying a wreath at a peace memorial. “We come to mourn the dead.” Read More