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US envoy Kennedy visits Nagasaki atomic bomb site

10 december 2013, 14:53
0
US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy (C) plants seedlings of doogwood at the Peace Memorial Park in Nagasaki. ©AFP
US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy (C) plants seedlings of doogwood at the Peace Memorial Park in Nagasaki. ©AFP
Washington's new ambassador to Tokyo, Caroline Kennedy, visited Nagasaki on Tuesday and paid tribute at a memorial to those killed when the United States dropped its second atomic bomb on Japan, AFP reports.

"I am deeply moved by my visit here," said Kennedy, the lone surviving child of John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in Dallas 50 years ago last month.

"President Kennedy was very proud that he was able to start the process of nuclear disarmament and all of our family shares that commitment," she said.

"President Obama also has been working very hard on this issue."

More than 70,000 people died either instantly in the blast or from the after-effects in the months and years following the bombing on August 9, 1945, of the port city of Nagasaki.

The morning attack came three days after the first-ever atomic blast at Hiroshima, which claimed about 140,000 lives in all.

Kennedy, escorted by Nagasaki mayor Tomihisa Taue and ageing survivors of the bombing nearly seven decades ago, laid a white flower wreath in front of the symbolic Peace Statue.

Kennedy's predecessor John Roos attended peace ceremonies on the anniversaries of the bombings in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first US ambassador to do so.

Survivors and activists have repeatedly called for an American president to visit the cities.

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