President Barack Obama’s planned visit to Hiroshima in late May will be a symbolic gesture of the strength of the U.S.-Japan Alliance, though it need not be accompanied by an apology or a speech denouncing nuclear weapons like the one Obama gave in Prague in 2009, Sasakawa USA’s Dr. Jeffrey Hornung said in an April 27 news article in the Sankei Shimbun.
If Obama chooses to make a speech while visiting, Hornung explains in the Japanese-language article, he would be in danger of his words being misinterpreted, politicized, and over-analyzed as pundits debate what he said, what he should have said, and what he did not say. Hornung’s comments additionally were referenced in a May 10 article by Kirk Spitzer in USA Today.
Other countries within Asia also are important to consider, Hornung noted. In the Northeast Asia region, some countries would claim that Japan is a militant nation or that the U.S.-Japan alliance makes Japan more warlike. If Obama visits Japan not as a security partner, but as a friend with sincere intentions of remembering the dead, it will signify the strength of friendship that can exist between countries that were former enemies.
Even though the U.S. may never apologize for dropping atomic bombs, and Japan may never apologize for attacking Pearl Harbor, the alliance between the two counties is firmly grounded in trust and friendship. There are still those who harbor resentment or anger over the horrors of war, however, at the government level apologies are not necessary, Hornung said.