Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

HIROSHIMA — On May 21, Fumio Kishida, prime minister of Japan, and Volodymyr Zelenskyy, president of Ukraine, who is visiting Japan to attend some of the sessions of the G7 Hiroshima Summit, laid a wreath at the Cenotaph for the Atomic Bomb Victims in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kishida and Zelenskyy were escorted to the cenotaph by Kazumi Matsui, mayor of Hiroshima. They laid a wreath and offered a silent prayer with the support of Hiroshima junior high and high school students.

In addition, Zelenskyy visited the Peace Memorial Museum and received explanations about the exhibits, which illustrated the human toll of the U.S. atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. There is a similar museum in Nagasaki, which was bombed three days later. About 210,000 people, mostly civilians, are estimated to have died as a result of the attacks by the end of the year.

G7 leaders sign the guestbook at the Peace Memorial Museum.

On May 19, the G7 leaders — Kishida, Joe Biden of the U.S., Emmanuel Macron of France, Justin Trudeau of Canada, Olaf Scholz of Germany, Giorgia Meloni of Italy and Rishi Sunak of Britain — visited the museum, where they met 85-year-old atomic bomb survivor Keiko Ogura. They also laid wreaths at the cenotaph. The seven were joined by European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen.

“As chair of the G7, I am gathering here together with the leaders of G7 countries on this historic occasion of the G7 Summit to realize a world without nuclear weapons,” Kishida wrote in the museum’s guestbook.

Biden, the second sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima after Barack Obama in 2016, wrote, “May the stories of this museum remind us all of our obligations to build a future of peace. Together let us continue to make progress toward the day when we can finally and forever rid the world of nuclear weapons. Keep the faith!”

“Canada pays solemn tribute to the many lives lost, the unspeakable grief of the hibakusha, and the immense suffering of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” Trudeau wrote. “Votre histoire restera à jamais gravée dans notre conscience collective.” (Your story will forever be etched in our collective consciousness.)

Sunak wrote, “Shakespeare tells us to ‘give sorrow words.’ Yet language fails in the light of the bomb’s flash. No words can describe the horror and suffering of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But what we can say, with all our hearts, and all our souls, is ‘no more.’”

Macron, Sunak and Trudeau are the first sitting leaders of their respective countries to visit Hiroshima.

A joint statement issued by the G7 leaders reads, in part: “We, the leaders of the G7, met at a historical juncture in Hiroshima, which together with Nagasaki offers a reminder of the unprecedented devastation and immense human suffering the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki experienced as a result of the atomic bombings of 1945. In a solemn and reflective moment, we reaffirm, in this first G7 leaders’ document with a particular focus on nuclear disarmament, our commitment to achieving a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all.

“We underscore the importance of the 77-year record of non-use of nuclear weapons. Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric, undermining of arms control regimes, and stated intent to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus are dangerous and unacceptable. We recall the statement in Bali of all G20 leaders, including Russia. In this context, we reiterate our position that threats by Russia of nuclear weapon use, let alone any use of nuclear weapons by Russia, in the context of its aggression against Ukraine are inadmissible.

“We recall the Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear-Weapon States issued on Jan. 3, 2022, on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races, and affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. We call on Russia to recommit  — in words and deeds — to the principles enshrined in that statement. Our security policies are based on the understanding that nuclear weapons, for as long as they exist, should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression and prevent war and coercion.

“The overall decline in global nuclear arsenals achieved since the end of the Cold War must continue and not be reversed. The Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) must be upheld as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and the foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.We reaffirm our commitment to the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all, achieved through a realistic, pragmatic and responsible approach.”

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