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Nagasaki mayor asks Obama to visit atomic-bombed city

Kyodo

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue on Wednesday said he handed a letter to U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy during a meeting in Tokyo, urging President Barack Obama to visit the atomic-bombed city when he comes to Japan to attend the Group of Seven summit next month.

“Please express your country’s steadfast determination to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons through a message, stating that Nagasaki must be the last place to suffer the devastation they bring,” the letter said.

“The people of Nagasaki ardently wish to see the realization of both your visit to Hiroshima, and of course to Nagasaki.”

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited the cenotaph in Hiroshima to the tens of thousands who perished in the Aug. 6, 1945 atomic bombing of that city. Kerry became the first U.S. secretary of state to do so, while he was in Hiroshima to attend a G-7 foreign ministerial meeting.

Kerry told a news conference after visiting the peace memorial park in Hiroshima that when he returns to Washington, he will convey to Obama how important it is for the U.S. president to visit the city.

On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama is considering doing so.

“This is a question about whether or not the president will visit Hiroshima that comes up regularly whenever the president makes plans to travel to Japan,” Earnest told reporters. “Once we’ve made a decision one way or the other, we’ll be able to talk in a little bit more detail about why we’ve made the decision that we made.”

Taue told reporters after his meeting with Kennedy, “It is a bigger advance than ever before that (the president) is considering visiting an atomic bombed city. Although his visit only to Hiroshima is of great significance, I hope he would come to Nagasaki as well.”

According to the mayor, the U.S. ambassador, the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, replied to his comments by saying the U.S. government is arranging Obama’s schedule while in Japan.

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