Hiroshima, Pearl Harbor peace parks unite in reconciliation symbol

Tokyo, Jun 29 (EFE).- The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan, and the National Monument of the United States base of Pearl Harbor were twinned Thursday in a symbolic gesture at a time marked by the increased tension in global geopolitics.

“These parks, once places of conflict, are now places of reconciliation. They can inform and influence our future elections,” US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said in a statement released after signing the twinning agreement with Kazumi Matsui, Hiroshima mayor.

Former US President Barack Obama, the first acting president of that country to visit Hiroshima, the first city to be targeted by a nuclear bombardment by the US, also celebrated the agreement and sent a letter saying it “marks a historic achievement, connecting two peoples with their past and building a shared future based on peace and cooperation.”

Thursday’s signing and Obama’s words mark a new step after the former president’s visit to Hiroshima in 2016, where he met with atomic bomb survivors and gave a heartfelt speech at the city’s Peace Memorial Park.

Late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also visited Pearl Harbor in Hawaii that same year in a similar gesture where he spoke of the power of reconciliation.

Following Thursday’s agreement, the two parks will engage in exchanges to share information on the restoration of historic structures, the use of virtual reality in education, and practices to engage youth and children in the study and transmission of their historical legacy.

This marks the second twinning between parks in Japan and the US, after the one in 2016 between the Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gifu Sekigahara Battlefield Memorial Museum, two key battlefields in the American and Japanese civil wars, respectively. EFE


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