- Associated Press - Friday, May 27, 2016

HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) - The Latest on U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, Japan (all times local):

4:15 p.m.

President Barack Obama says his visit to Hiroshima will be an opportunity to honor the memory of all those lost during World War II.

Obama is visiting U.S. and Japanese troops at Iwakuni air station just before traveling to nearby Hiroshima for the first visit by a sitting U.S. president. He says his historic visit is a chance to reaffirm a commitment to pursuing a world where nuclear weapons are no longer necessary.

The president says his visit is a testament to how even the most painful divides can be bridged. He says it shows how former adversaries Japan and the U.S. can become not just partners but the best of friends and strongest of allies.

Obama is also praising the troops for their sacrifices to ensure the security of people around the world. He says the world mustn’t forget to honor those who have given everything for freedom.


3:30 p.m.:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh ah-bay) says President Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima will give a “big boost” to efforts to achieve a nuclear-free world.

Abe says what happened in Hiroshima should never be repeated.

Some 140,000 people were killed in Hiroshima near the end of World War II when the U.S. dropped at atomic bomb on the western Japanese city.

It was the first such attack anywhere in the world.

Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima’s hallowed ground on Friday.

Abe commented at the conclusion of a summit of world leaders in Shima, Japan.


12:30 p.m.

Hiroshima’s peace memorial park is being cleared of visitors in preparation for President Barack Obama’s visit.

But there were plenty of morning visitors to the park, and all had their own reasons for coming.

Kinuyo Ikegami, who is 82, came to light incense and chant a prayer.

Long lines of schoolchildren took turns bowing and praying beside her.

Retiree Tsuguo Yoshikawa took a walk in the park, and said it’s time for the U.S. and Japanese people to move forward without grudges.

Tokyo actor Kanji Shimizu says he wishes a U.S. president could have come earlier. But he’s glad that the time has come. He’s hoping Obama’s visit will help promote world peace.


9 a.m.

President Barack Obama on Friday will become the first American president to confront the historic and haunted ground of Hiroshima.

At a place of great suffering, where U.S. forces dropped the atomic bomb that gave birth to the nuclear age, Obama will pay tribute to the 140,000 people who died from the attack seven decades ago.

He will not apologize. He will not second-guess President Harry Truman’s decision to unleash the awful power of nuclear weapons. He will not dissect Japanese aggression in World War II.

Rather, Obama aimed to offer a simple reflection, acknowledging the devastating toll of war and coupling it with a message that the world can - and must - do better.

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