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Monday, April 11, 2016, 16:04

Kerry 'to offer no US apology for Hiroshima'

By Associated Press

Kerry 'to offer no US apology for Hiroshima'

US Secretary of State John Kerry, center left, puts his arm around Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, center right, after they and fellow G7 foreign ministers laid wreaths at the cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan April 11, 2016. Also pictured are, from left to right, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, Canada's Foreign Minister Stephane Dion, Britain's Foreign Minister Philip Hammond, Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Italy's Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni and France's Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. (Jonathan Ernst / Pool Photo via AP)

HIROSHIMA, Japan - John Kerry, who on Monday became the first US secretary of state to pay respects at Hiroshima's memorial to victims of the 1945 US nuclear attack, described a museum there as "stunning" and "gut-wrenching" and said it was a reminder to all in public life to work for a world free of nuclear weapons.

Kerry, along with his counterparts from other Group of Seven (G7) advanced nations, toured the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Museum, which displays photographs of badly burned victims, the tattered and stained clothes some of them wore and statues depicting them with flesh melting from their limbs.

A senior US official traveling with Kerry said the top American diplomat wouldn't say sorry. But he said Kerry would express the sorrow that all feel upon reflection about the bombing and use the occasion to promote President Barack Obama's vision of nuclear disarmament. The official wasn't authorized to be quoted by name on Kerry's plans and demanded anonymity.

Kerry became the most senior American official ever to visit the site, touring the city's Peace Memorial Park and Museum with other foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations. Some 140,000 Japanese died in the attack in the final days of World War II.

Shortly before the scheduled event, Kerry called it "a moment that I hope will underscore to the world the importance of peace and the importance of strong allies working together to make the world safer and, ultimately, we hope to be able to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction."

"And while we will revisit the past and honor those who perished, this trip is not about the past," Kerry told Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, a Hiroshima native. "It's about the present and the future particularly, and the strength of the relationship that we have built, the friendship that we share, the strength of our alliance and the strong reminder of the imperative we all have to work for peace for peoples everywhere."

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