Mr Biden is currently en route to Hiroshima, the Japanese city that was the target of the first combat use of an atomic bomb on 6 August 1945, for the 2023 Group of Seven leaders’ summit.
He is scheduled on Friday to visit the Hiroshima Memorial Museum with the other six G7 leaders, and will participate in a wreath-laying and tree-planting ceremony with his counterparts from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom. The museum and memorial include the remains of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, the only building left standing after the bombing.
Some Japanese politicians have called for the US to offer an official apology for the Hiroshima bombing and the bombing of Nagasaki four days later. But the first US president to visit the memorial site, Barack Obama, did not apologise for the use of nuclear weapons when he visited in 2016, and the White House says Mr Biden will not do so either.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One that no apology would be offered in part because the event Mr Biden is attending would not be an appropriate occasion for such a gesture.
“The president won't be making a statement at the Peace Memorial Park. He'll be participating with the other G7 leaders in a wreath laying and a few other events, but this is not from his perspective, a bilateral moment,” said Mr Sullivan, who added that Mr Biden will attend “as one of the G7 leaders coming to pay respects”.
He added that Mr Biden would be doing so both out of respect for history and for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who entered Japanese politics as a member of the Japanese House of Representatives for Hiroshima’s First District.
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