Kerry first US secretary of state to visit Hiroshima memorial

(From AP)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited the revered memorial to Hiroshima’s atomic bombing on Monday, delivering a message of peace and hope for a nuclear-free world seven decades after United States used the weapon for the first time in history and killed 140,000 Japanese.

Kerry, with G7 foreign ministers at A-bomb memorial in Hiroshima

Kerry (4th from left) with G7 foreign ministers after laying wreath at the stone-arched monument at the A-bomb memorial in Hiroshima Monday

Kerry became the most senior American official to travel to city, touring its peace museum with other foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and laying a wreath at the adjoining park’s stone-arched monument, the exposed steel beams of Hiroshima’s iconic A-Bomb Dome in the distance.

The otherwise somber occasion was lifted by the presence of about 800 Japanese waving flags of the G7 nations, including that of the United States.

Kerry didn’t speak publicly at the ceremony, though could be seen with his arm around Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, a Hiroshima native, and whispering in his ear. The ministers departed with origami cranes in their respective national colors around their neck, Kerry draped in red, white and blue.

“Everyone in the world should see and feel the power of this memorial,” Kerry wrote in the museum’s guest book. “It is a stark, harsh, compelling reminder not only of our obligation to end the threat of nuclear weapons, but to rededicate all our efforts to avoid war itself.”

“War must be the last resort — never the first choice,” he added. “This memorial compels us all to redouble our efforts to change the world, to find peace and build the future so yearned for by citizens everywhere.” Read More



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