President Obama Should Visit Hiroshima

President Obama Should Visit Hiroshima

Jamie Metzl

President Obama should visit Hiroshima when he will be in Japan for the G7 Summit in Ise-Shima in late May. If he does, he will be the first sitting US President to visit the city where the first US atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. Although some people in the United States, Korea, and China may feel that such a visit would be tantamount to an American apology or a nod to Japanese historical revisionism, this is not the case. Visiting Hiroshima would allow President Obama to recognize the pain and suffering of the Japanese people impacted by the bombs, highlight the terrible suffering of war, call on all nations to engage in honest and respectful dialogues about the historical record, and outline long-term plans to work towards a nuclear-free world. President Obama can also note Japan’s transformation from an aggressor country that enslaved millions and started a deadly war to one of the most peace-loving, generous, and responsible countries in the world. Going to Hiroshima and laying a wreath at the Peace Memorial there will be a powerful positive statement for America, Japan, and the world. Not doing so would be a lost opportunity.