President Barack Obama will be visiting Japan on May 27. During this visit he will go to the city of Hiroshima which will make him the first sitting president in office to ever visit. Jimmy Carter visited Hiroshima on May 5, 1984 however he was no longer in office at the time of his visit. Hiroshima is of significance because it one of the two cities, the other being Nagasaki, that had a nuclear warhead dropped on it during World War II. In fact these two cities were the only places ever bombed with nuclear warhead during wartimes. These bombings caused massive casualties of over 200,000 people. Nuclear weapons have not been used in war since, although they have been considered other times. For example on November 30,1950 President Harry S. Truman said during a press conference that, “he is prepared to authorize the use of atomic weapons in order to achieve peace in Korea.” Even though nuclear weapons were never actually used during the Korean War they were an option that was almost used.
The trip to Hiroshima has sparked some controversy as some see this trip as a way to apologize for the use of the bombs. However, Benjamin J. Rhodes, Mr. Obama’s deputy security adviser for strategic communication, assures that, “He will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II, instead, he will offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future.” The Prime Minister for Japan, Shinzo Abe of Japan, hasn’t been pressing for an apology and is using the trip as a means to honor the dead and to support the cause for nuclear disarmament. Fortunately for Mr.Abe, President Obama shares his support for this cause. Obama receiving a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in lowering the world’s nuclear supply and his general call for a “world without nuclear weapons.”
In the past Obama expressed an interest in visiting either Nagasaki or Hiroshima even on his first visit to Japan in 2009. However throughout the three, this will be the fourth visit during his presidency, times he visited Japan, officials decided against a visit to the cities as they did not want the president to be seen as an apologist. Although in his first visit a Japanese government official said, “it would be premature to include a visit to Hiroshima,” a lot of people are welcoming the visit with open arms. Hopefully he will enjoy his visit!