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Secretary of State Kerry will visit the memorial to victims of the world’s first nuclear attack when he visits Japan later this week.
Kerry will be the highest ranking U.S. official to pay respects at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
The trip is part of a meeting with foreign ministers, State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Tuesday. The visit also dovetails with President Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons, Toner said.
Though Obama has previously visited Japan several times as president, he has yet to visit Hiroshima.
On August 6, 1945, an American atomic bomb dubbed “Little Boy” was dropped and instantly killed 60,000 people in Hiroshima. A few days later, another bomb was dropped killing 40,000 more people in Nagasaki.
The bombings ended the war but caused widespread devastation as generations of Japanese citizens suffered from cancer, radiation poisoning and other illnesses.
The Obama administration has focused heavily on nuclear security during the president’s second term. Last week, 50 world leaders met at a Nuclear Security Summit to discuss how to best keep nuclear weapons and materials for a dirty bomb from terrorist and dangerous political regimes.
President Obama met with leaders from Japan and South Korea during the summit to discuss North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.