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The story headlined “Kerry to visit Hiroshima for G-7 ministerial talks” in the April 3 edition pointed out that Group of Seven ministers will visit Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima to pay tribute to the atomic bomb victims. That means hundreds of government officials and reporters from overseas will also be there that day.

I would like all of them to understand that the site of the park was one of the busiest areas in the city, consisting of stores and houses, not military installations, before the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 6, 1945. That might be difficult to imagine from the neatly maintained park.

Last autumn, I visited Peace Memorial Park for the first time since I attended the Peace Memorial Ceremony on Aug. 6, 2013. I came across two groups of tourists, one Japanese and the other non-Japanese, led by Japanese guides. The two guides both explained that the Peace Memorial Ceremony is held there on Aug. 6 every year, and that the Peace Memorial Museum, Memorial Monument, Flame of Peace and A-Bomb Dome are located in a straight line.

To my surprise, they did not mention what the place was like before the atomic bomb was dropped.

Compared with the fact that the buildings and people (mostly civilians) at that site were extinguished in an instant by the atomic bomb, the “straight line” is of little importance, isn’t it? It is much to be regretted if some of those who visited the park did not imagine at all there were ordinary people leading ordinary lives there.

Finally, Secretary of State John Kerry, after his first visit to Hiroshima, should emphasize how significant it was, and urge President Barack Obama to make a historic visit there after the G-7 summit in May, not only as the U.S. president but also as the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

MASAMICHI YABUKI
SHINAGAWA WARD, TOKYO

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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