US Secretary of State John Kerry visited the revered memorial to Hiroshima’s atomic bombing, seven decades after the United States used the weapon for the first time in history while a senior American official travelling with Kerry said no apology would occur.
Kerry on Monday became the most senior American official to travel to city, touring its peace museum with other foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and laying a wreath at the adjoining park’s stone-arched monument 70 years after the horrific bombing which killed 140,000 Japanese.
“I want to express on a personal level how deeply honoured I am, how deeply moved I am” to be the first US secretary of state to visit the memorial, he told reporters.
The ministers departed with origami cranes in their national colors around their necks, Kerry draped in red, white and blue.
“Everyone in the world should see and feel the power of this memorial,” Kerry wrote in the museum’s guest book. “It is a stark, harsh, compelling reminder not only of our obligation to end the threat of nuclear weapons, but to rededicate all our effort to avoid war itself. “ “War must be the last resort _ never the first choice,” he added.
“This memorial compels us all to redouble our efforts to change the world, to find peace and build the future so yearned for by citizens everywhere. “ Kerry’s appearance, just footsteps away from Ground Zero, completed an evolution for the United States, whose leaders avoided the city for many years because of political sensitivities.
No serving US president has visited the site, and it took 65 years for a US ambassador to attend Hiroshima’s annual memorial service.