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Kerry 'Deeply Moved' on Hiroshima Visit


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (center) prepares to lay a wreath with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (L), Britain's Foreign Minister Philip Hammond at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park during the G-7 ministers' meeting.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (center) prepares to lay a wreath with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (L), Britain's Foreign Minister Philip Hammond at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park during the G-7 ministers' meeting.

John Kerry said he was “deeply moved" and "honored” to visit Hiroshima, Japan on Monday.

United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, near the end of World War II. An estimated 140,000 people died in that bombing.

The meeting included a tour of a World War II memorial to victims in Hiroshima.

“It was a stunning display,” said Kerry, after visiting Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

“It is a gut-wrenching display. It tugs at your sensibilities as a human being," he added.

Speaking of the U.S. alliance with Japan, Kerry said, “My visit to Hiroshima has a very special meaning about the strength of the relationship and the journey we have traveled together since the difficult time of the war.”

The secretary of state was asked if President (Barack) Obama will visit Hiroshima when he attends a G-7 leaders’ summit in Japan in May. Kerry said he hoped that one day the president of the U.S. would be among those who visited the city.

He added that Obama had expressed an interest in visiting, but did not know if the president’s schedule would permit it during his upcoming trip to Japan.

Nuclear proliferation and disarmament however were important themes during discussions.

Kerry commented at the end of a two-day meeting with other Group of Seven, or G7, foreign ministers. He was joined by foreign ministers from Germany, Italy, Britain, Canada, France as well as Japan.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida hosted the ministers’ meeting. He was asked if Japan would seek its own nuclear weapons as suggested by U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Kishida answered, “For us to obtain nuclear weapons is completely inconceivable.”

The foreign ministers released a joint declaration in Japan calling for a world without nuclear weapons.

The so-called Hiroshima Declaration discussed the security situations in Syria and Ukraine. It also noted North Korea's repeated violations of bans on its nuclear and missile tests.

On Sunday, the seven ministers discussed issues including the regional problems posed by China's increasing presence in the South China Sea. They also discussed North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Pam Dockins and Victor Beattie reported this story for VOANews.com. Mario Ritter adapted their reports for Learning English. Kathleen Struck edited the story.

Have you been to Hiroshima? Do you know its history? Please leave a Comment below this story and post on our Facebook page, thank you.

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Words in This Story

gut-wrenching – adj. causing great emotional pain

tug –v. to pull with force

nuclear proliferation –n. the rapid increase in the number of nuclear weapons

theme –n. a main subject that is discussed or written about

inconceivable – adj. something that cannot be imagined

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