Barack Obama will become the first U.S. president to visit Hiroshima in Japan later this month, but he will not apologize for the United States' dropping of an atomic bomb on the city at the end of World War Two, the White House said on Tuesday.
Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize early in his presidency in 2009 in part for his commitment to nuclear nonproliferation, Obama on May 27 will tour the site of the world's first nuclear bombing with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Obama and Abe will visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park near the spot where a U.S. warplane dropped an atomic bomb 71 years ago at the end of World War Two.
But far from apologozing, Obama has said he believes President Truman made decision to use atomic bombs in Hiroshima for “the right reasons” to “end a terrible war,” according to White House spokesperson Josh Earnest.
With the end of his last term in office approaching in January 2017, Obama will "highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons," the White House added.
"He will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II. Instead, he will offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future," Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, wrote in a separate blog.
Obama's trip to Japan is part of a May 21-28 swing through Asia, which will include a Group of Seven summit in Japan and his first trip to Vietnam.