Obama will be visiting Hiroshima. He has said that he isn't going to be apologising, and it seems unlikely that he'll be there to praise the fruits of a government scientific/technological project which involved a very ethnically diverse workforce, many of whom were refugees.

What is he there for? To strengthen the call for nuclear disarmament?

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    I see there is a vote to close, but I'm pretty sure an answer exists for this. There is likely a statement justifying this action. If we veer into speculation (e.g. "He's going to weaken Clinton's position during the election") then that would be too broad. May 23, 2016 at 16:12

2 Answers 2


First, the visit to Hiroshima was part of a state trip for the G7 conference in Japan - so it's not like he made a special trip to Japan to do it.

Second, sometimes diplomacy means doing things that impact the people where you are - not just the people at home. And yeah, being nuked is still a bit of a sore point in Japan (one of a dwindling number of good allies on that side of the Pacific), and there is ongoing tensions - especially in Okinawa - about US military presence there. So maybe playing nice on this is part of a larger picture. Most things are. Do you want to wind up with the only major bases in Asia to be in Korea if local anti- US military sentiment gets too strong?

Third, the stated reason was that Obama intends to "highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,"

Take that as you wish.

And it is an opportunity to make a certain type of speech as your career winds down. And being able to send a message while you're the lame duck may have been part of it too. Especially with renewed muscle-flexing from Putin, and if there is any lingering notions in Iran to restart any R&D.

Lots of reasons I can think that may have made it seem like a good idea, and it seemed to be properly received on all fronts.

  • Can you point to evidence of a dwindling number of good allies? I thought China's recent actions have been contributing to a large number of allies.
    – Golden Cuy
    Jul 22, 2016 at 23:45
  • There is a difference between someone on your side politically over a specific issue (South China Seas sovereignty for example), and countries that will let you base your military. Okinawa is becoming more of an issue as time passes, and although the Philipines are allowing some re-use of Subic, that again is a borderline situation. That leaves Korea, which is militarily vulnerable, and the next closest real ally being Australia where there is talk of expanding the presence in Darwin. so keeping Japan happy and Okinawa open has to be a big priority. Jul 28, 2016 at 17:21

Hiroshima is most likely viewed as a legacy building event for Obama. It lets him "be the president that begins the healing process over dropping the bombs" or something similar. This is a similar action to opening formal relations with Cuba, there isn't much gain for the U.S. in it happening, but it makes Obama's legacy look better.

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    Surely there is some kind of link you can provide from the administration which justifies this statement. This is probably partly right, but I'd bet there is more justification going into it, than that. May 23, 2016 at 16:13
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    This seems like pure speculation unless you have a source within the administration.
    – jalynn2
    May 23, 2016 at 17:17
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    Any statement by the administration would likely be a lie set up to make Obama sound good. For example the admission by Ben Rhodes how the administration lied to try to con everyone into accepting the Iran nuclear scam. May 24, 2016 at 18:30

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