WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will travel to Hiroshima this month in the first visit by a sitting American president to the site where the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb.
The White House announced the visit in a statement Tuesday morning, saying Obama will visit along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a previously scheduled visit to Japan.
Obama's visit will "highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapon," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. The U.S. bombing at Hiroshima killed 140,000 Japanese on Aug. 6, 1945.
The president's visit has been widely anticipated since U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited the memorial to the Hiroshima bombing in April. Kerry toured the peace museum with other foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and participated in an annual memorial service just steps from the site's ground zero.
The U.S. attacked on Hiroshima in the final days of World War II, thrusting the world into the dangerous Atomic Age. Many American believe the bombing, along with another Aug. 9 on the city of Nagasaki miles away, hastened the end of the war.
The White House has ruled out the possibility that Obama will apologize for the bombing of Hiroshima.
Obama will be in Japan to attend a Group of 7 economic summit.