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Obama ‘neglecting suffering of Korean Hiroshima survivors’ via The Guardian

Victims’ groups accuse US president of ignoring their plight and fear his Hiroshima visit helps Japan gloss over its own history

The bitter legacy of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the US military presence on Okinawa are threatening to cast a shadow over Barack Obama’s last G7 summit as US president.

As Obama and other world leaders sat down to a working lunch in Ise-Shima to discuss the state of the global economy on Thursday, Korean survivors of the Hiroshima bombing in August 1945 accused him of neglecting their suffering ahead of his visit to the city on Friday – the first by a sitting US president.

While many Japanese have welcomed the gesture, Korean survivors fear his trip will aid attempts in Japan to gloss over its own wartime acts of aggression.

“The world thinks Japan is the atomic bomb victim. That is wrong,” said Shim Jin-tae, one of a small number of South Koreans at a protest outside the US embassy in Seoul.

“Japan is the country that began the war, and Koreans are the victims of the atomic bomb,” added the 73-year-old, who lived in in Hiroshima and was two when the bomb was dropped.

“The United States has never apologised for the atomic bomb and Japan, as a country that started the war, has never apologised.”

Tens of thousands of Koreans, including Shim’s parents, were sent to Japan as forced labourers during Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula.

The Association of Korean Atomic Bomb Victims estimates that 40,000-70,000 Koreans died in the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

A delegation of Korean A-bomb survivors is to fly to Japan to urge Obama to visit a monument dedicated to Korean victims of the attack during his visit to the Hiroshima peace memorial park.

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