SPOTLIGHT: SHOULD OBAMA APOLOGIZE IN HIROSHIMA?
When Barack Obama becomes the first sitting U.S. President to visit Hiroshima tomorrow, the ceremony will include hibakusha, survivors of history's only nuclear attacks. No doubt, each victim of the 1945 bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will have their own expectations of the American president, and depart with their own feelings. Obama, for his part, has already made it clear to the Japanese he wouldn't make a direct apology.
But why not? The U.S. president who vowed soon after his election to strive for a world without nuclear weapons could find the words to turn the tragedy of the past into a permanent reminder for the future. Still, as The New York Timeswrites, Obama's primary concern is a more present American realpolitik. While an apology would likely be welcome in Japan, it could also be misinterpreted in other Asian countries for which Hiroshima and Nagasaki represent not just the end of World War II, but also the close of years of brutal Japanese rule.
"Apologies tend to be the exception and non-apologies the rule," Adam Taylor writes in The Washington Post, explaining that the logic behind this "is not moral but rather political." It should be noted that this is the case for most countries, with the notable exceptions of â€¦ Germany and Japan. Or perhaps, the unwritten rule of history is simply that only the losers must apologize.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- G7 world leaders in Japan discuss the global economy, amid security and Brexit fears. Follow live updates from The Guardian.
Photo: Elysée's official photographer François Lafite via Instagram
- President Pranab Mukherjee of India meets with President Xi Jinping of China, hoping to spur more Chinese investment in South Asia's biggest nation.