WASHINGTON – U.S. President Bill Clinton plans to visit a memorial to the more than 200,000 people who lost their lives in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa when he attends the July 21-23 Group of Eight summit in the prefecture, U.S. government officials said Tuesday.
Clinton will address Okinawa residents upon his visit to the Cornerstone of Peace memorial, built at Peace Memorial Park in Itoman, Okinawa Prefecture, the officials said.
The memorial bears the engraved names of all soldier and civilian victims, including approximately 14,000 U.S. soldiers, killed in the 82-day Battle of Okinawa during the closing months of World War II.
The officials said the president also plans to express his appreciation to local residents for hosting U.S. troops stationed in Okinawa.
They said Clinton hopes to meet with some Okinawa residents, but the U.S. government has yet to decide which part of the island the president will visit.
Clinton will also visit U.S. bases in the prefecture and meet with service members and their families, the officials said.
G8 talks still on
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori still intends to hold a series of top-level bilateral meetings with leaders of the Group of Eight nations, including U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin, by July 21 in Tokyo, government officials said on Wednesday.
The government’s decision came after it decided to cancel a state banquet for G8 leaders — originally scheduled to be hosted by the Emperor in Tokyo on July 20 — in light of Friday’s death of the Empress Dowager.
The government has decided to hold the talks in Tokyo as it is difficult to have them in Okinawa due to the tight summit schedule, the sources said, adding that it is unnecessary to readjust the schedule for the talks in Tokyo as it is planned to move the summit to the capital in the event of a typhoon in Okinawa.
The government has already conveyed its decision to the respective G8 countries.