What Secretary of State John Kerry called his “gut wrenching” visit to the Hiroshima war memorial on Monday served several purposes. As the highest-ranking official in an American administration ever to visit the site, he paid respects to the victims of one of the most devastating acts of World War II and reflected on how Japan and the United States have forged a strong alliance over the past 70 years. He also emphasized that “war must never be the first resort” and urged a continued push for a world free from nuclear weapons. For years, top American officials did not visit the memorial because of sensitivities over the nuclear attacks by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that killed 200,000 people, mostly civilians. Now that Mr. Kerry has paved the way, there should be nothing keeping President Obama from becoming the first American president to stop at Hiroshima when he travels to Japan next month for a meeting of the Group of 7 leaders. But he should be prepared to offer some tangible new initiative to keep alive his flagging vision of a nuclear-free world.
New York Times 12th April 2016 read more »