HIROSHIMA — US President Barack Obama made history Friday by becoming the first incumbent US head of state to visit Hiroshima since American forces dropped an atomic bomb on the city in 1945, killing an estimated 80,000 people and hastening the end of World War II.
The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on Aug 6, 1945, killed thousands of people instantly and some 140,000 by the year’s end.
“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.”
Before laying the wreath at a peace memorial, Obama visited a museum where haunting displays include photographs of badly burned victims, the tattered and stained clothes they wore and statues depicting them with flesh melting from their limbs.
“We remember all the innocents killed in the arc of that terrible war,” a solemn Obama said.
“We have a shared responsibility to look directly in the eye of history. We must ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.”
The US president’s visit has stirred significant 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 will highlight a new level of reconciliation and tighter ties between the former enemies.
Aides say Obama’s main goal in Hiroshima is to showcase his nuclear disarmament agenda, for which he won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
The city of Nagasaki was hit by a second nuclear bomb on Aug 9, 1945, and Japan surrendered six days later.
A majority of Americans see the bombings as having been necessary to end the war and save lives, although some historians question that view.
Most Japanese believe they were unjustified.
Obama has said he will honour all who died in World War Two but will not apologise for the bombing.
“I’m coming, first and foremost, to remember and honour the tens of millions of lives lost during the Second World War. Hiroshima reminds us that war, no matter the cause or countries involved, results in tremendous suffering and loss, especially for innocent civilians,” Obama said in written responses to questions published in the Asahi newspaper on Friday.
The White House debated whether the time was right for Obama to break a decades-old taboo on presidential visits to Hiroshima, especially in an election year.
PM congratulates Nepali national cricket team
KATHMANDU— Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has congratulated Nepali national cricket team for being able to clinch the International T20 series.
PM Oli in a tweet extended best wishes and congratulations saying he was very happy to know Nepal’s win over the UAE by 14 runs in the third match of the series.
Winning T20 series is another landmark success for Nepali cricket, he said, adding, “It is big achievement for Nepal’s cricket. I would like to heartily congratulate entire members of Nepali cricket squad”.