World leaders have officially landed in Japan for the 2023 G7 summit, which will run from Friday 19 May until Sunday 21 May. Launched in 1975, the G7 was created to allow large countries to come together and discuss important developments in world politics, as well as efforts on global issues like climate change, trade and economics.
The G7 countries are made up of the UK, the US, Japan, Canada, France, Germany and Italy, with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida welcoming political figures like UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and American President Joe Biden.
The G7 leaders visited the Hiroshima Memorial Museum today (19 May), participating in a wreath-laying and tree painting ceremony. Hiroshima is one of the two Japanese cities that were rocked by atomic bombs in 1945 by the United States.
This is everything you need to know.
What happened in 1945?
On 6 and 9 August 1945, two atomic bombs were detonated over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States. As a result of the attack, Hiroshima became the first city in the world to be struck by an A-bomb.
At 8:15am on the morning of 6th August, Hiroshima was hit by an atomic bomb nicknamed “Little Boy”. The bomb exploded around 1,800 feet above the city, with five square miles of the city centre reduced to ashes. An estimated 120,000 people were killed within the first four days after the blast - while many were instantly vaporised by the bomb, others perished afterwards as a result of their burns and the radiation.
Days later, just after 11am on 9 August, a second atomic bomb, this time nicknamed “Fat Man”, targeted Nagasaki. Over two square miles of the city were destroyed, with around 73,000 more deaths.
According to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), “five to six years after the bombings, the incidence of leukaemia increased noticeably among survivors” and that “after about a decade, survivors began suffering from thyroid, breast, lung and other cancers at higher than normal rates”.
The bombings took place during World War II and on 14 August, the Japanese government accepted the demand for unconditional surrender. It wasn’t until 2 September though that WWII was brought to a formal close as this was when the Japanese surrender was officially signed.
Will US President Joe Biden apologise for the bombings at the G7 summit?
Following calls from some Japanese politicians for an official apology from US President Joe Biden for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, the White House has said that Biden will not be doing so.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on board Air Force One that an apology will not be offered, in part because the event that Biden will be attending would not be the appropriate occasion for the gesture.
He said: “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.”