President Obama became the first sitting American leader to make a trip to Hiroshima, the Japanese city bombed by the U.S. with a nuclear device in 1945.
At a ceremony at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Obama and Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, stood in front of the eternal flame. The American president laid a wreath at the memorial; the Japanese leader also laid a wrath there.
He then signed a guest book at the memorial: “We have known the agony of war. Let us now find the courage, together, to spread peace, and pursue a world without nuclear weapons.”
At a news conference Thursday in Japan, which he was visiting for a meeting of the Group of 7 industrialized nation, Obama provided the rationale for why he’s the first American leader to visit the memorial: “Part of the reason I’m going is because I want to once again underscore the very real risks [of nuclear weapons] that are out there and the sense of urgency that we all should have.”
You can watch Friday’s ceremony here:
Obama has made clear that he won’t apologize for the bombing on August 6, 1945, that ultimately led to Japan’s surrender in World War II. Two other American presidents have visited Hiroshima: Jimmy Carter visited on May 5, 1984, long after he’d left the White House. Richard Nixon went on April 11, 1964, four years before he won the presidential election.