Barack Obama to Hiroshima, seven decades after the bomb

Right after arriving at Park Peace Memorial, the US president paid tribute to more than 210,000 Japanese people killed by the nuclear fire, and also more broadly to "all the dead "of the Second World war.

Born 16 years after the use of this "cruel bomb" in the words of Emperor Hirohito, Barack Obama is also expected to discuss his vision, of a world without nuclear weapons.

"Rest in peace, we will not repeat this tragedy": this phrase inscribed on the cenotaph that contains tens of volumes which record the names of the victims of the nuclear furnace.

On 6 August 1945, the US military dropped on Hiroshima the first atomic bomb in history, followed three days later by that of Nagasaki. The use of this weapon was about to strike the Japanese surrender and the end of World War II.

Obama is the first US president to visit the Park of Peace: Richard Nixon visited the site in 1964, before his election, Jimmy Carter in 1984, long after leaving the White House.

Just before starting his visit, Mr. Obama visited the US military base in Iwakuni, nearby.

"We can never forget to pay tribute to all those who gave their all for our freedom," he said.

Under the US-Japan security treaty of 1951, some 50,000 US troops are stationed on the islands

'Moral responsibility'

The 44th president of the United States has made clear: he does not go there to pass judgment on the decision of his distant predecessor Harry Truman or apologize in one form or another.

"It is the job of historians to ask questions (...) but I know, myself being the president for seven years and a half, every officer take very difficult decisions, especially in war time," - he said during an interview with Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

Sunao Tsuboi, 91, survivor of the bomb, was among those invited to the ceremony.

If he had the opportunity to talk to US President, he would show his "gratitude" for this visit, he said on NHK. "I have no intention of asking him to apologize," said the nonagenarian anti-nuclear activist.

Upon his arrival at the White House, Barack Obama has denuclearized one of his priorities.

"The United States, the only country to have ever used a nuclear weapon, has a moral responsibility to act," he shouted in April 2009 in Prague, denouncing the idea that we should resign ourselves to a world where “more and more countries have ultimate destruction tool ".

China recalls Nanjing 

"This visit will give a powerful impetus to the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons," said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

In the United States, some voices are initially raised against what they have beforehand described as "a tour of apology”.

Whatever the exact words that Barack Obama delivered in this shocking place where over a million people travel each year, the presence on the site of an American president is not, in itself, a way of expressing regret, some people wonder.

"If some interpret it that way, it will be a misinterpretation," he decided in advance, Josh Earnest, spokesman for the US executive.

Nguyen Kinh Luan
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