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US House Speaker visits Hiroshima A-bomb memorial
Hiroshima, Sept 2 (AP):
Published on 3 Sep. 2008 12:30 AM IST
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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today became the highest-ranking serving American official to pay respects at the memorial site of the world's first atomic bomb attack. Democrat Pelosi is in Japan for a two-day gathering of top legislators from the Group of Eight industrialised countries. Today morning, she and the other G-8 representatives visited Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park before heading into an all-day meeting. No sitting US president or vice president has ever visited Hiroshima. As speaker of the House of Representatives, Pelosi is second in line to the presidency after US Vice President Dick Cheney. Former US President Jimmy Carter stopped by the memorial in 1984, after his presidency, but he did not visit in any official capacity. Genyu Izawa, a Buddhist priest, stood by as each of the G-8 officials laid flowers at the arch-shaped monument inside of which a stone chest holds the names of bomb victims. "As a Japanese, I am grateful that they are thinking about this and have all gathered here, the site of the atomic bombing," said Izawa, who travelled from Tokyo to show his support to Pelosi for her longtime commitment to Tibet issues. An estimated 140,000 people were killed instantly or died within a few months after an American B-29 bomber dropped its lethal payload on Aug 6, 1945. Three days later on Aug 9, 1945, the US dropped a nuclear bomb on the city of Nagasaki, killing about 80,000 people. Japan surrendered on Aug 15, ending World War II.

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