Some rather symbolic and meaningful news come from Japan these days. It is official now that the United States President Barack Obama will pay his visit to Hiroshima on May 27 2016. This visit will make him the first sitting president of USA to visit this city whose history carries tremendous warning for the whole world.
It’s been 71 years since President Truman ordered the atomic bombing of Hiroshima which made Japan the only country in the world attacked by the nuclear weapon. This devastating decision ended the World War II killing over 100 thousand people in one act.
Ever since, the relations between the United States and Japan carried the burden of history and this official visit is raising numerous questions. The White House has been hotly debating Obama’s plan and many politicians and historians are wondering if the visitation will be followed by the official apology to Japan.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sees this meeting as the opportunity for two highly influential politicians to pay tribute to thousands of victims, call for the world without the nuclear weapon and finally – send significant message to the future generation.
According to the plan, Abe and Obama will visit Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park located at the very place where the bomb fell. The Park is the unique monument dedicated to all those who were killed or injured during the attack, so as to the memories of their survived loved ones and brief history reviews. A short inscription in the Park states memorable quote: “We shall not repeat the evil”.
The whole story has opened some old wounds and accented some questions. “We shall not repeat the evil”. What evil exactly are we talking about?
On one hand, there’s the White House stating that Obama’s visit does not mean revising of Truman’s historical decision, nor formal apology. It is mere attempt to appeal to the world nowadays, pay the tribute and improve relations between Japan and USA.
Peace activists worldwide accuse him of empty words, hypocrisy and actual support of nuclear weapons by investing one trillion dollars into modernization of the USA nuclear weapons stockpile.
It is true that various agreements and actions during last few decades lead to limited development, prevented using and surrended nuclear material in many countries, but there is also a growing nuclear threat from North Korea and Pakistan, for example.
All the officials in Japan, so as the Japanese public broadly welcome Obama’s announced visitation, even if it doesn’t really mean formal apology. Public opinion surveys suggest that insisting on formal apology comes mostly from some historians and tough nationalists.