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US Ambassador Attended Hiroshima Memorial

6 Aug 2010

On 6 Aug 2010, a crowd of 55,000 gathered to remember the destruction of the Japanese city of Hiroshima as the result of the first atomic bomb used as a weapon. One of those present were John Roos, the US Ambassador to Japan. Although he did not speak at the ceremony, he became the first official representative of the government of the United States to attend this annual ceremony, and it sparked a possibility that US President Barack Obama may visit Hiroshima when he will visit Japan in Nov 2010 during the scheduled Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference; no US president had ever visited Hiroshima since the atomic bombing. American conservative groups, however, criticized Roos' decision to attend the ceremony, citing that it might be viewed as an admission of guilt despite the US government's official position that the use of atomic weapons killed far less than the number of deaths that would have occurred had the alternative of invasion been chosen.

"We greet this August 6 with re-energized determination that no one else should ever have to suffer such horror," said Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba of Hiroshima, who did not stress the importance of Roos' presence. Instead, he focused on his message of working toward a world without nuclear weapons.

For more information:
WW2DB: Atomic bombing of Hiroshima
The New York Times: U.S. Attends Hiroshima Ceremony
The Guardian: John Roos is first US representative to attend Hiroshima memorial ceremony in Japan

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