John Kerry, who will become the first secretary of state to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on Monday, will not offer an apology for the use of the atomic bomb by the United States to bring the World War II to an end.
The visit to Hiroshima, the city that was struck by the massively deadly atomic bomb on August 6, 1945, resulting in Japan’s complete surrender, is part of the gathering of world leaders from the Group of Seven advanced economies calling for the end of nuclear weapons.
According to History.com, an atomic bomb was dropped by an American B-29 bomber over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Almost 90 percent of the city was obliterated, and as many as 80,000 people were killed immediately following the explosion. Tens of thousands of others, affected by diseases and exposures, later succumbed to death. The second bomb was dropped three days later, on August 9, 1945, on Nagasaki; killing another 40,000 people. The unconditional surrender of Japan was announced by Emperor Hirohito on August 15. The formal surrender agreement was signed on September 2.
However, Kerry will not offer an apology for the use of the bomb and the ensuing devastation it caused, according to a senior State Department official traveling with Kerry. “If you are asking whether the secretary of state came to Hiroshima to apologize, the answer is no,” the official said, as reported by CNN. “If you are asking whether the secretary — and I think all Americans and all Japanese — are filled with sorrow at the tragedies that befell so many of our countrymen, the answer is yes.”
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that Kerry’s visit will “recognize the huge loss of life” that the war caused. Toner also added, “It is also an acknowledgment that since the end of World War II that the United States and Japan have become the closest of friends and strong allies.”
The two day meeting, which will be presided over by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, will include the leaders addressing anti-terrorism steps, maritime security and issues related to North Korea, Ukraine and the Middle East, as reported by Reuters.