Take our user survey and make your voice heard.
politics

Rudd lays wreath at Hiroshima; 1st Western leader to visit city since bombing

16 Comments

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visited Hiroshima Monday to pay his respects to the victims of the atomic bombing of the city during World War II. Rudd, the first Western leader to officially visit Hiroshima since the bombing, is said to have picked the city himself as his first destination during his first trip as prime minister to Japan after taking office in November. He flew to Hiroshima on Sunday.

Accompanied by his wife, Therese Rein, the prime minister laid a wreath at the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims. After viewing objects scarred by the bombing on display at the Peace Memorial Museum, he asked museum curator Koichiro Maeda about the extent of the destructive power of the A-bomb.

Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba presented Rudd with mementos including pictures depicting the devastation of Hiroshima.

Rudd is scheduled to move on to Kyoto and Nagoya and arrive in Tokyo, where he will meet with Japan's emperor and empress and Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on Tuesday. He will stay in Japan until Thursday.

In Kyoto, he will give a speech at a university, outlining his views on foreign policy, and opportunities for regional co-operation on climate change and security matters.

Before leaving Australia, Rudd said the relationship with Japan was in "first-class working order. Japan is a partnership which is anchored in our comprehensive engagement on strategic matters, security matters and economic matters," he said.

Rudd will also use the trip to raise the sensitive issue of whaling with his Japanese counterpart. He confirmed that Australia would continue to deal with whaling through diplomatic dialogue with Japan and that the process had some way to go before reaching a solution.

Another pressing issue to be addressed during the visit will be the finalization of free trade agreement negotiations that began in April 2007 but are yet to be concluded.

Rudd said Australia would like to see a comprehensive FTA that covers all sectors and is World Trade Organization compatible.

© Wire reports

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
Login to comment

Nice and classy gesture from the PM Rudd, but I'm hoping that when the Japanese PM visits Australia next, he lays a wreath to remember the Australian victims of Japanese aggression during WW2.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Aw c'mon rjd_jr, that was 70 years ago. I'm sure there are more pressing issues that need to be dealt with. Hopefully they can strike an agreement about whaling - The agreement being, no whaling in the southern oceans at all!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

rjd_jr: I agree.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Rudd is a very 'class act', a real credit to the Aussies. A pity there aren't a heck of a lot more politicians with his style and honesty around the world

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To Fair dinkum!, why? There is no problem with whaling.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I believe that PM Rudd has a special,sincere feeling for victims of any kind.First asbestos victims ,then aboriginals now war victims... but for the rest of his abitily,we will have to wait and see.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

With regard to Japanese and laying wreathes in Australia, I can think of the good and the ugly. On one hand, in commemorating the Cowra Breakout, I remember some Japanese VIP laying a wreath for both the Japanese prisoners (who tried to escape to no where) and the Australian guards who tried to stop them. I can also think of the submarine memorial in Sydney where the Japanese ambassador has done the wreath thing a couple of times. On the other hand, I also remember the old Japanese coot who tried to raise an imperial Japanese flag at the Australian war memorial (about 20 years ago). He was arrested and apparently "fell down the stairs" on the first floor of a certain police station in Canberra. Anyway, with regard to this Hiroshima memorial thing, there are a number of issues involved. Although Kev laid a wreath, this probably has to do with raising his image in Japan. The locals up here are a bit worried that mandarin-speaking Kev is going to improve relations with China at the expense of Japan (some big Australian exporters are also worried about this). At the same time, however, it would be stupid to think that Kev is trying to distance himself from the rationale of the bombing of Hiroshima. Given the fact that the ANZAC tradition runs very deep in Australian society, Kev would not like his visit to Hiroshima to be seen as any form of apologizing to Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

fairdinkum- 70 yrs ago so what. Open your eyes and your ignorant mind

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think PM Rudd understands asian culture very deeply;laying a wreath doesn't mean apology or anything ,just a recognition of disasters which war can cause.And from this base he can go on to talk about nuclear disarmament and peace .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mr Rudd, being the first and only leader to speak fluent Mandarin has been accused from all directions of being Sino-Centric and causing harm to Austalias relations with other Asian powers like Japan and India. Faced with the huge task of reparing this, he becomes the first western leader to visit Hiroshima. Absolutely brilliant course of action.

"I think PM Rudd understands asian culture very deeply;laying a wreath doesn't mean apology or anything ,just a recognition of disasters which war can cause."

This begs the question of whether Mr Rudd can appreciate that Japanese politicians visit the Yasukuni Shrine to pray for peace, not worship war criminals.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I never heard any Australian PM complained anything about Yasukuni matter,only the media sometimes mentioned about some complaints from some other Asian countries.As former PM John Howard explained before , all the matters of WW2 between Japan and Australia were finished some 60 years ago.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And also don't worry,Australian media ,Australian public will keep an eye on PM Rudd to make sure he gets the balance right.Maybe he stayed in China for too long before,he needs time to adjust.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good job, Rudd... though I'm pretty shocked he's the FIRST leader to do this officially.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is Rudd going to lay a wreath in Tokyo, where many more people were killed than in Hiroshima?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i heard hiroshima and nagasaki are still radioactive sites...

may be us politicians should drop by. but they won't.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I never heard any Australian PM complained anything about Yasukuni matter,only the media sometimes mentioned about some complaints from some other Asian countries.As former PM John Howard explained before , all the matters of WW2 between Japan and Australia were finished some 60 years ago.

Just for your information, at the war crimes trials in Tokyo, Australia (whose judge was the president of the court) was all for stringing the Hirohito up. The only reason his imperial majesty did not get the gallows was that "Dug-Out" Doug (the US) decided to use existing Japanese institutions against the perceived threat of communism.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites