A US president could potentially participate in a ceremony in Hiroshima to commemorate lives of people killed in the US atomic bombing in 1954, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a briefing on Thursday.
On August 6, 1945, the US atomic bomb "Little Boy" detonated about 2,000 feet above Hiroshima killing around 140,000 people. Another bomb, "Fat Man" was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki on August 9.
An atomic cloud billows above Hiroshima city following the explosion of the first atomic bomb to be used in warfare in Hiroshima, in this handout photo taken by the U.S. Army on August 6, 1945, and distributed by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
"I certainly would not rule out that kind of possibility into the future, but there has been a robust debate...about the propriety of a presidential visit," Earnest said when asked if a US president would attend a commemoration ceremony in Hiroshima.
Local residents walk past the gutted Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall (L), which is currently called the Atomic Bomb Dome or A-Bomb Dome, on Aioi Bridge in Hiroshima after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, in this handout photo taken by Shigeo Hayashi in October 1945 and released by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
Earnest noted US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, as well as Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Rose Gottemoeller attended the commemorative event at Hiroshima earlier on Thursday.
"They are planning to attend the Nagasaki peace memorial service," he added.
The world marks Hiroshima Day and the International Day of Nuclear Disarmament on August 6.