Atomic bomb survivors to attend Hiroshima event for Obama visit

Atomic bomb survivors to attend Hiroshima event for Obama visit

ISE-SHIMA, Japan – Reuters
Atomic bomb survivors to attend Hiroshima event for Obama visit

Lee Jongkeun, a Korean atomic bomb survivor who was born and lives in Japan, speaks during an interview at the monument of the Korean victims of the atomic bomb at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, southwestern Japan, Thursday, May 26, 2016. U.S. President Barack Obama is to visit Hiroshima on Friday, May 27 after the Group of Seven summit in central Japan, becoming the first serving American president to do so - AP photo

At least three atomic bomb survivors will attend an event in Hiroshima on May 27 when U.S. President Barack Obama becomes the first incumbent U.S. leader to visit the site of the world’s first atomic bombing, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported. 

Obama has said he will not apologize or address the debate on whether the Aug. 6, 1945, dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and on Nagasaki three days later was justified, but will honor all those who lost their lives in World War Two. 

He will be accompanied by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the visit.

Meanwhile, a group representing Korean victims of the U.S. atomic bombings of Japan protested May 26 that their suffering was being neglected ahead of Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima.

The Association of Korean Atomic Bomb Victims estimates that anywhere between 40,000 and 70,000 Koreans died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki when atomic bombs laid waste to the two cities in August 1945.

The Korean peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule at the time, and most of those who died had been conscripted by the Japanese military or forced into hard labor.

Consequently, the association argues that Koreans were multiple victims, deserving not only of an apology from the United States, but also from Japan.

Around two dozen members of the group - including survivors and relatives of those who died - gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Seoul with placards reading: “Apologize to Korean victims of the Atomic Bomb” and “Acknowledge the 2nd generation victims.”