In a sense, it is the ultimate irony: The man appointed to oversee the memorial to victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945 by an American B-29 aircraft is . . . an American.

But antiwar activist Steven L. Leeper says that since his April appointment as the first foreigner to be chairman of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation — which operates the museums and memorials — residents of the world's first city to experience nuclear warfare have welcomed him.

That is apart from some rightists who protested a May 31 article in the local newspaper that, Leeper says, inaccurately quoted some of his views.