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International relations

Japan to host 2023 G-7 summit in Hiroshima, Kishida tells Biden

City devastated by first atomic bomb is fit to send message of peace, PM says

Birds on August 6, 2021, fly over Peace Memorial Park, commemorating the 76th anniversary of the world's first atomic bombing, of Hiroshima, Japan. (Kyodo via Reuters)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan will host a 2023 summit of the Group of Seven nations in Hiroshima, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday, believing the city -- devastated by the world's first atomic bomb attack -- is fit to send a message of peace.

The move was backed by U.S. President Joe Biden, who met with Kishida earlier in the day in Tokyo on the second leg of his trip to Asia. Their summit was held against the backdrop of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the growing threat of Moscow resorting to the use of atomic weapons.

The decision to host the summit in Hiroshima, which is also Kishida's electoral district, is seen as a symbolic move in the push for nuclear disarmament, despite three of the G-7 developed nations -- the United States, Britain and France -- possessing atomic weapons.

"As prime minister of Japan, the only country to have suffered atomic bombings, there is no better place than Hiroshima to show our commitment to peace," Kishida said at a post-summit joint press conference with Biden.

The western Japanese city was devastated by the Aug. 6, 1945, bombing by the United States, which killed an estimated 140,000 by the end of that year. A second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki in southwestern Japan three days later.

"I would like to confirm unity with other G-7 leaders, including President Biden, in defending global peace, order and values" in front of a peace monument in Hiroshima, he said.

Kishida has been pushing for a world free of nuclear weapons, a goal shared by Biden at their summit on Monday.

Kishida was foreign minister when former U.S. President Barack Obama visited Hiroshima in 2016. Biden was vice president.

"I welcome the prime minister's announcement that the G-7 summit will take place in his hometown of Hiroshima," Biden said. Japan will take over the G-7 presidency from Germany next year.

The other two candidate sites to host the summit next year were the central and southwestern Japanese cities of Nagoya and Fukuoka.

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