President Obama to visit memorial to nuclear bombing in Hiroshima

President Obama speaks in the White House briefing room May 6.

President Barack Obama will visit a memorial to the victims of the U.S. atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima during World War II, the White House said Tuesday.

The visit this month will be the first by a sitting U.S. president.


The United States dropped the first nuclear weapon on Hiroshima on the morning of Aug 6, 1945. Some 140,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the blast and the months that followed.

The United States dropped a second bomb on the port city of Nagasaki 3 days later. Japan surrendered, ending the war.


Obama will not revisit the decision to use the weapons, a White House spokesman said, but will use the visit to mark his desire for nations not to develop or use nuclear arms.

"The visit will also symbolize how far the United States and Japan have come in building a deep and abiding alliance based on mutual interests, shared values, and an enduring spirit of friendship between our peoples," spokesman Ben Rhodes wrote in a blog post.

The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed the visit.

The end of the war ushered in an era of pacifism in Japan — the nation's U.S.-drafted constitution official renounces war and bars it from having a military — and deep dependence on the United States for security in the face of the Soviet Union and China.

Obama's visit to Hiroshima will follow a G-7 summit meeting in Japan.