Progress on ridding the world of nuclear weapons, not an apology, is what Hiroshima would want from a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to the Japanese city hit by an American nuclear attack 71 years ago, survivors and other residents said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said during a visit to the city on Monday that Obama wanted to travel there, though he did not know if the president’s schedule would allow him to when he visits Japan for a Group of Seven summit in May.
No incumbent U.S. president has ever visited Hiroshima.
A presidential apology would be controversial in the United States, where a majority view the bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and of the city of Nagasaki three days later, as justified to end the war and save U.S lives.
The vast majority of Japanese think the bombings were unjustified.
“If the president is coming to see what really happened here and if that constitutes a step toward the abolition of nuclear arms in future, I don’t think we should demand an apology,” said Takeshi Masuda, a 91-year-old former school teacher.
“It has been really tough for those who lost family members. But if we demand an apology, that would make it impossible for him to come,” he told Reuters.