Hiroshima, Nagasaki mayors ask Obama to visit

JIJI, Kyodo

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui and Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue have jointly requested that U.S. President Barack Obama visit the sites of the world’s only atomic attacks now that he has been re-elected.

Matsui and Taue met with U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos on Wednesday at the American Embassy in Tokyo and submitted a written request that Obama visit their cities during his second term to listen firsthand to the tales of hibakusha and fully grasp the tragedies of the A-bombings ordered by President Harry Truman in August 1945.

The mayors also asked that Obama broadcast a message of his unwavering commitment to eliminating nuclear weapons to a world audience from the symbolic sites of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Roos assured Matsui and Taue that he would deliver their message to Obama.

Following their meeting, Matsui told reporters that the atmosphere during the talks had been positive and he believes Roos understood the sentiment behind the mayors’ request. Taue, meanwhile, expressed confidence that Obama would visit the two cities.

Obama declared his aim of realizing a world free of nuclear arms in a keynote speech delivered in Prague in April 2009, and during his first trip to Japan as president that November he voiced a strong desire to visit both Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the future, saying it would be an honor to visit the only sites in history attacked with atomic weapons.

On nuclear disarmament, Matsui recently slammed Osaka Mayor and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) leader Toru Hashimoto for remarking Saturday — during a visit to Hiroshima — that it would be practically impossible to eliminate nuclear weapons.