Obama, Abe vow in Hiroshima to pursue world free of nuclear weapons

HIROSHIMA. KAZINFORM - Leaders of the United States and Japan vowed on Friday to work to realize a world free of nuclear weapons as U.S. President Barack Obama made his landmark visit to Hiroshima, which was devastated by a U.S. atomic bomb in the final stage of World War II in 1945, Kyodo reports.

"Among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them," Obama, the first sitting American president to visit the western Japan city, said at a ceremony at a memorial park near ground zero that was also attended by atomic bomb survivors.
"We may not realize this goal in my lifetime, but persistent effort can roll back the possibility of catastrophe," he added, without offering any judgments on the wartime U.S. decision to drop atomic bombs first on Hiroshima and then on Nagasaki.
The president also underscored the importance of visiting Hiroshima "to mourn the dead, including over 100,000 Japanese men, women and children, thousands of Koreans and a dozen Americans held prisoner" and that the memory of Aug. 6, 1945, when the bomb was used for the first time in warfare, "must never fade."
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for his part, welcomed that Obama's visit brought "much hope" to people around the world seeking to rid the world of nuclear arms.
Noting that it breaks his heart to think of the lives that perished in the atomic bombings, Abe said, "We must never again allow any part of the world to experience these kinds of tragedies."
Abe also said Obama's trip marked "a new chapter" in the history of friendly ties between Japan and the United States, which were formerly foes in World War II.
"We will do our best to work toward global peace and prosperity," for the sake of the victims of the atomic bombings, he added.
The United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and a second on Nagasaki three days later. Around 210,000 people are estimated to have died as a result of the attacks by the end of 1945. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15 of the same year, bringing an end to World War II.
As the only country to have suffered nuclear attacks in war, Japan upholds the three non-nuclear principles of not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear weapons on Japanese territory. But at the same time it has relied on U.S. nuclear deterrence for protection.
Photo: © REUTERS/ Carlos Barria

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