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Obama to become first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima

By
Andrew V. Pestano
The wrecked framework of the Museum of Science and Industry as it appeared shortly after the blast in Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945. City officials decided to preserve this building as a memorial, though they had at first planned to rebuild it. UPI File Photo
The wrecked framework of the Museum of Science and Industry as it appeared shortly after the blast in Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945. City officials decided to preserve this building as a memorial, though they had at first planned to rebuild it. UPI File Photo | License Photo

WASHINGTON, May 10 (UPI) -- Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, where more than 80,000 people were killed when the United States dropped a nuclear bomb to force a Japanese surrender at the end of WWII.

Obama will begin a weeklong visit to Vietnam and Japan starting May 21, his 10th trip to Asia. He will hold official meetings with Vietnamese officials to improve relations between both countries. Obama will also advocate for the approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership during his trip to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

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While visiting Japan, Obama will attend his final G-7 Summit in Ise-Shima. The G-7, or Group of Seven major economic powers, includes Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan and the United States.

"This gathering will enable the G-7 leaders to advance common interests across the full range of economic and security priorities and to address pressing global challenges," a White House statement reads.

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Obama will also meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, where the leaders will discuss enhancing bilateral relations over economic and security issues.

"Finally, the president will make an historic visit to Hiroshima with Prime Minister Abe to highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons," the White House concludes.

Last month, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry became the first U.S. official to visit the Hiroshima memorial in Japan. More than 80,000 people were killed instantly when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city on Aug. 6, 1945, at the end of World War II, and more than 70 percent of the buildings in the city were destroyed.

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Japan surrendered a few days later, on Aug. 15, bringing WWII to a close.

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