Biden won't apologize for 1945 atomic bombing at Hiroshima G7

Hiroshima, Japan - US President Joe Biden will not apologize for the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima by the United States in 1945 when he attends the G7 summit in the Japanese city, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan made clear on Thursday.

US President Joe Biden and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands prior to a bilateral meeting ahead of the G7 leaders' summit in Hiroshima.
US President Joe Biden and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands prior to a bilateral meeting ahead of the G7 leaders' summit in Hiroshima.  © REUTERS

"The president won't be making a statement at the Peace Memorial Park. He'll be participating with the other G7 leaders in a wreath-laying and a few other events," Sullivan said aboard the aircraft carrying Biden to the summit.

Asked directly about a possible apology, Sullivan delivered a flat "No."

This was not a bilateral moment between the US and Japan, he added.

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"This is him, as one of the G7 leaders, coming to pay respects and – and respects both for history but also respects to Prime Minister Kishida, who of course is from Hiroshima," the advisor said.

US atomic bomb killed tens of thousands of people

Pictures dated 1945 show Hiroshima before and after the first atomic bomb was dropped by a US Air Force B-29 on August 6, 1945.
Pictures dated 1945 show Hiroshima before and after the first atomic bomb was dropped by a US Air Force B-29 on August 6, 1945.  © AFP

An atomic bomb dropped by the US Air Force on August 6, 1945, devastated the city, killing an estimated 70,000 people immediately and a further 70,000 to 80,000 over the following months.

A second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later. The bombs were the first use of a nuclear weapon, and nuclear weapons have not been used since.

Biden is the second US president to visit Hiroshima, following on from Barack Obama's visit in May 2016. During his visit, Obama met survivors of the bombings and called for a world without nuclear weapons.

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But he did not apologize, and there had been no expectation that Biden would do so.

Japan capitulated unconditionally following the bombing of Nagasaki, bringing an end to World War II.

Russia's implicit threat to use nuclear weapons in its war with Ukraine has lent added symbolism to holding the G7 summit in Hiroshima.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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