US President Obama is set to become the first US president since WW2 to visit the Japanese city of Hiroshima, and will tour the site of the first nuclear attack on a populated city. The United States launched an atomic bomb against the city on August 6, 1945, killing well over 100,000 people by most estimates.
Obama is going but will absolutely “not apologize,” according to White House officials, who say the visit is intended to be “forward-looking” and focused on America’s commitment to nuclear disarmament. The US retains a massive nuclear arsenal, and President Obama has pushed for a modernization campaign to keep the arsenal intact for decades to come.
Officials say that the visit was “hotly debated” among White House officials, with many fearing Obama would face a backlash from Americans for even the perception that he was apologizing for the nuclear attack. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest insisted all questions of whether or not Obama should apologize should be left up to “historians.”
While Americans overwhelmingly supported the nuclear attack in 1945, polls show that over the years, a growing number of Americans disapprove of the tactic. The polls have also shown Japanese people, who opposed it in the first place of course, oppose it even more today.
As the only nation to sustain a nuclear attack, Japan has adopted a strongly anti-nuclear arms stance, and while the Abe government is moving toward increased militarization, nuclear arms are still a sore subject for the nation.