Secretary Of State John Kerry Visits Hiroshima Memorial : The Two-Way Kerry is the highest-ranking U.S. official ever to visit the site. He honored the 140,000 Japanese who died in the U.S. attack on the city, but did not apologize for the bombing there and in Nagasaki.
NPR logo Secretary Of State John Kerry Visits Hiroshima Memorial

Secretary Of State John Kerry Visits Hiroshima Memorial

Secretary of State John Kerry pauses during his remarks about seeing the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, the site of the 1945 atomic bombing, during a news conference at the conclusion of the G-7 Foreign Ministers' Meetings in Hiroshima on Monday. Jonathan Ernst/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Jonathan Ernst/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State John Kerry pauses during his remarks about seeing the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, the site of the 1945 atomic bombing, during a news conference at the conclusion of the G-7 Foreign Ministers' Meetings in Hiroshima on Monday.

Jonathan Ernst/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State John Kerry visited the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima on Monday, making him the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the site since the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb there at the end of World War II.

Kerry didn't apologize for the U.S. attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, as some Japanese activists have pushed for. He did honor those who died in the bombings, NPR's Elise Hu reports.

On the visit, Kerry toured the peace museum and laid a wreath at the monument to the attack, The Associated Press reports.

The memorial is located where the city's political and commercial center used to be, as NPR's Eyder Peralta reported for our Newscast unit. "After the bombing, the Japanese decided to make it a symbol of disarmament," Eyder says.

Afterward, the AP writes, the secretary of state described the emotional visit for reporters:

" 'It is a stunning display, it is a gut-wrenching display,' he told reporters of the museum tour, recounting exhibits that showed the bomb, the explosion, the 'incredible inferno' and mushroom cloud that enveloped Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. 'It tugs at all of your sensibilities as a human being. It reminds everybody of the extraordinary complexity of choices of war and what war does to people, to communities, countries, the world.'

"Kerry urged all world leaders to visit, saying: 'I don't see how anyone could forget the images, the evidence, the recreations of what happened.' "

President Obama is said to be considering making a trip to see the site himself when he's in Japan next month for the G-7 summit.