• Kyodo News


The United States and Britain are considering sending envoys for the first time to the annual Aug. 6 atomic-bomb memorial service in Hiroshima, diplomatic sources in Tokyo said Monday.

The sources said the nations, two of the Allies during World War II, are making final arrangements.

There has been no word on who the envoys would be, however, including whether they would be the two countries’ ambassadors to Japan, someone in the lower ranks of their diplomatic corps, or someone from home.

France has already decided it will send an envoy to the Hiroshima memorial service for the first time.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is scheduled to attend ceremonies in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki next month.

In recent years, the Hiroshima Municipal Government has asked major nuclear powers to attend its peace memorial service held every Aug. 6. This year, the city is still waiting for official responses from the U.S. and Britain, municipal officials said.

An official at the British Embassy in Tokyo said Monday that London will soon make a formal response to Hiroshima’s invitation.

A record 67 nations have said they will send representatives to Hiroshima this year.

Participation by both the U.S. and Britain could help build momentum for international efforts for nuclear disarmament, observers said, adding that President Barack Obama’s speech in Prague last year aiming for a world without nuclear weapons may have played a role in the two nations getting serious about sending envoys to the memorial.

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