Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

Trash collection goes high tech

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users react to escalating violence in Gaza

Read more

FASHION

Paris, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015.

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

  • Live: Germany take on Argentina, Messi and World Cup history

    Read more

  • Major differences remain as deadline looms in Iran nuclear talks

    Read more

  • Germany vs Argentina - history and genius clash in World Cup final

    Read more

  • Israeli navy attacks Hamas base as tanks line up along Gaza border

    Read more

  • French military to extend Mali 'counterterrorism' operations into Sahel

    Read more

  • Legendary conductor Lorin Maazel dies aged 84

    Read more

  • Germany’s Tony Martin wins ninth stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Boko Haram claims Nigeria attacks and supports Iraqi militants

    Read more

  • Paris’s Bastille Day fireworks ‘an homage to victims’ of WWI

    Read more

  • French court lifts mayor’s ban on Muslim hijab at beach

    Read more

  • Shells land in Russia as eastern Ukrainians flee fighting

    Read more

  • Rival Libyan militias exchange heavy fire at Tripoli airport

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament fails to agree on new leadership

    Read more

  • Afghan presidential candidates agree to full vote audit, Kerry says

    Read more

  • Last of the Ramones, Tommy Ramone, dies aged 62

    Read more

Pelosi makes historic Hiroshima visit

©

Latest update : 2008-09-02

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi laid flowers at a Japanese memorial to atomic bombing victims. Pelosi is the highest-ranking sitting US official to pay respects at the site in Hiroshima, the first city to witness the world's first nuclear attack.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi laid flowers Tuesday at a memorial to the Hiroshima atomic bombing, becoming the highest-ranking sitting US official to pay respects at the site.
  
Pelosi, a Democrat who is the third top US official after the president and vice president, bowed both before and after laying a bunch of carnations and white lilies on a hot sunny day in the southwestern Japanese city.
  
Pelosi was invited to Hiroshima -- which was devastated by a US atomic bomb on August 6, 1945 near the end of World War II -- for a meeting of parliament speakers of the Group of Eight major industrial nations.
  
"The visit to Hiroshima is a powerful reminder of the destructiveness of war, underscoring the urgency for all nations to promote peace and to build a better world," Pelosi wrote in a museum guestbook.
  
Schoolchildren waved the flags of Japan, the United States and other G8 nations and sang hymns calling for world peace after Pelosi and other parliament speakers offered flowers in honour of those killed in the bombing.
  
The speakers then headed to the Hiroshima bombing museum, where Akihiro Takahashi, 77, recounted his experience of living through the world's first nuclear attack.
  
Pelosi appeared emotional at times, nodding and grimacing as Takahashi spoke and showed horrific images of bombing victims who were covered by severe burns or who had lost their limbs and eyeballs.
  
After Takahashi's speech, Pelosi shook his hand and quietly moved her lips to say: "Thank you."
  
Takahashi, who once served as the chief of the museum, said he wanted to know what the G8 speakers, particularly Pelosi, thought about his presentation.
  
"She is the number three person in line to press the nuclear button," he later told reporters.
  
"For us atomic bombing victims, all nuclear weapons are evil. I really wanted to know how much they understood after seeing the museum and hearing my story," he said.
  
More than 140,000 people were killed in the attack on Hiroshima, either instantly or in the days and weeks ahead from radiation or horrific burns.
  
The United States dropped a second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki three days later, killing another 70,000 people. Japan surrendered less than a week later, ending World War II.
  
No sitting US presidents have visited the Hiroshima memorial, although Jimmy Carter visited after leaving office and Richard Nixon came as a private citizen between his stints as vice president and president.
  
Hiroshima residents said they hoped that one day a sitting US president would visit.
  
"I hope they will have the courage to come here. It doesn't matter how late the visit has been since the war," said local resident Hiroaki Takachiho, 76.
  
Americans "are the leaders of the world. Unless America takes steps to scrap nuclear weapons, nothing will happen," he said as he watched the flower-laying ceremony.
  
Mainstream opinion in Japan almost unanimously considers the atomic bombings to have been immoral, with many arguing that the United States was trying to show its strength against the Soviet Union in anticipation of the Cold War.
  
Views are much more divided in the United States, where veteran groups passionately argue that the decision to drop the atomic bombs forced Japan into early surrender and saved many lives.
  
The Hiroshima visit was arranged by the speaker of Japan's lower house, Yohei Kono, an outspoken defender of the country's post-World War II pacifism.
  
"I hope this will become a starting point for as many political leaders of the world as possible to come to Hiroshima or Nagasaki to see for themselves what happened here," said Kono, a former foreign minister.
  
"If they see it, I have no doubt that they would only strengthen their resolve to work towards nuclear disarmament," he said.

Date created : 2008-09-02

Comments

COMMENT(S)