Biden’s kick off G7 summit with visit to Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden needed a little guidance Friday morning from Japanese Prime Minister Kishida and his wife Yuko Kishida as the foursome posed for their first photo-op at the G7 in Hiroshima.
The Bidens were joining other G7 leaders Friday morning for a tour of Hiroshima’s Peace Park and Memorial Museum.
They arrived last and walked down a red carpet where there were four markings on the floor. The foursome shuffled around each other as they tried to figure out the lineup.
‘We’ll figure it out,’ Jill Biden said laughing, as the prime minister helped direct them to their marks on the floor.
The leaders toured the museum at the Memorial, which is dedicated to the thousands who died in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II.
WHERE DO WE STAND? President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden (center) try to figure out which marking on the floor to stand on as they pose for a picture with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (left) and his wife, Yuko Kishida (right)
They also participated in a wreath laying. They lined up in front of the memorial, with a wreath before each leader, and walked in unison to place them. The G7 leaders – which include the heads of the United States, the European Union, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France and Japan – then took a moment to stand at their memorial to pay their respects.
Many bowed their heads. Kishida, who is from Hiroshima, was seen speaking to them and pointing out parts of the park.
They also posed for a group photo in front of the memorial. Then they moved further down the park to participate in a tree-planting ceremony. Each leader was given a golden shovel and dropped one shovelful of dirt around the sapling.
During the visit, Biden won’t apologize for the US’s use of the atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II.
‘No,’ White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Thursday when asked if Biden would offer an apology.
It’s estimated that around 135,000 civilians were killed in by the atomic bombs used in 1945 with another 69,000 injured.
Kishida, who is hosting the gathering of world leaders, is from Hiroshima. He entered Japanese politics as a member of the Japanese House of Representatives for Hiroshima’s First District.
The Peace Memorial is the remains of the only building in Hiroshima to survive the nuclear blast.
The site includes memorials for the dead, the iconic bombed-out Peace Dome, and a museum on the bomb and its aftermath. The Peace Park is dedicated to the pursuit of peace and nuclear disarmament.
Kishida has made nuclear proliferation and disarmament part of his life’s work. He and President Biden will hold a one-on-one meeting on Thursday evening shortly after the US president arrives in Hiroshima.
When Kishida announced the G7 summit – the gathering of leaders from the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy – would take place in his hometown, he said he hoped the location would ‘send a message to the world that mankind will Never again cause the catastrophe of nuclear weapons.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden (left) arrive at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park on Friday and are greeted by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his wife Yuko Kishida (right)
Survivors of the nuclear blast in Hiroshima in 1945; It’s estimated that around 135,000 civilians were killed in by the atomic bombs with another 69,000 injured.
President Barack Obama hugs Mori Shigeaki, a survivor of the atomic bombing, during his May 2016 visit to Hiroshima (left); Obama lays a wreath at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima during his May 2016 visit
The world leaders are gathering at a time Russia is threatening to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine and North Korea has been conducting tests of nuclear missiles.
‘We need to send out a strong message that we will not tolerate the use of force to change the status quo unilaterally as witnessed with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine … that we will protect the international order based on rule of law,’ Kishida told the Japan Times in April.
‘We won’t allow the treatment of nuclear weapons by Russia.’
Since the bombing in 1945, Hiroshima has been rebuilt to become Japan’s 10th latest city.
The United States has been careful not to apologize for the use of the weapon while expressing sorrow over the destruction it caused.
Barack Obama visited Hiroshima in 2016, but did not apologize for the US attacks.
Instead he spoke about the costs of war and the need for peace and nuclear disarmament.
‘In the image of a mushroom cloud that rose into these skies, we are most starkly reminded of humanity’s core contradiction: how the very spark that marks us as a species—our thoughts, our imagination, our language, our tool-making, our The ability to set ourselves apart from nature and bend it to our will—those very things also give us the capacity for unmatched destruction,’ he said.
Obama’s vision for a world without nuclear weapons contributed to his winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
The only building in Hiroshima to survive the 1945 bombing is now the iconic Peace Memorial
On August 6th and August 9th 1945, the United States detonated two atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively.
It remains the only use of nuclear weapons in an armed conflict.
Some Japanese politicians have called for the US to offer an official apology but many Americans feel to do so would undermine the war effort.