Barack Obama has become the first American president to visit Hiroshima. During his recent visit to Japan he visited the city which was destroyed by the first atomic bomb.
Together with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Obama laid a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. In an emotional speech, Obama did not apologize to the Japanese people, but called the dropping of the first atomic bomb the biggest crime in human history. The American president demanded a world without nuclear weapons. The United States would also continue to stand by Japan, which turned from an enemy into an important ally in Asia. After the ceremony, Obama signed the guest book and spoke with survivors.
About 140,000 people were killed on August 6, 1945 when in the first atomic bomb exploded over the city. An additional 70000 died when the second bomb was dropped over Nagasaki. Nine days later Japan surrendered and World War II ended. Tens of thousands died from radiation illnesses in the decades that followed.
Obama did not mention the 20 000 Korean victims, who were forced to work for the Japanese in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing.
Although visiting Hiroshima has been a very sensitive issue for past American presidents, polls revealed that most Japanese wanted Obama to visit the city.
- additional = extra
- ally = a friendly country that you help
- although = while
- apologize = to say you are sorry for what happened
- continue = keep on
- crime = an action that is against the law
- decade = period of ten years
- demand = want, wish for
- destroy = to damage completely, so that nothing is left
- emotional = with strong feelings
- force = make someone do something
- lay a wreath = put down a circle of flowers at a place where people have died
- memorial = an object or building that has been built to honor a person or a famous event
- mention = talk about
- nuclear weapon = a bomb that releases energy by splitting atoms; it can kill thousands of people and destroy whole cities
- poll = a study in which people are asked about their opinion on a certain topic
- radiation illness = here : people who became sick because of the dangerous energy that came from the bombs
- recent = a short time ago
- reveal = show
- sensitive issue = here: something that you have to deal with carefully, so that you do not make others angry
- sign = put your name on a document
- stand by = support, help when it is needed
- surrender = give up
- survivor = person who managed to live on after the bombing
- victim = here: people who died