Hiroshima mayor sends letter of thanks to Obama

JIJI

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said Wednesday that he has sent a letter to outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama to thank him for his visit to the atomic-bombed city last year.

With the trip on May 27, Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in either Hiroshima or Nagasaki. The two cities were devastated by U.S. atomic bombs in August 1945 in the closing days of World War II.

In the letter, Matsui said, “I still vividly remember that historic day and the message for peace through which you conveyed anew your strong desire to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons.”

People in Hiroshima were moved when Obama acknowledged “the heartfelt wish” for nuclear abolition among hibakusha, Matsui said, adding, “It has been a great source of hope for us that you emphasized the importance of making a better future based on the experiences of the hibakusha.”

The letter, dated Dec. 16, said, “We strongly believe that you will continue your efforts to realize a world without nuclear weapons even after the completion of your term” as U.S. president.

Matsui also asked for collaboration between the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation and the Barack Obama Foundation.

The Hiroshima foundation serves as the secretariat for Mayors for Peace, a group of mayors around the world aiming to abolish nuclear weapons.

Yasuyoshi Komizo, chairman of the foundation, handed the letter to U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy when they met on Dec. 20.