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Hiroshima officials start preparing for next G-7 summit

This photo taken on Aug. 5 2021, shows Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima.(Mainichi)

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) -- Hiroshima officials started preparations Thursday to host a summit of the Group of Seven leading democracies next year in the western Japan city.

    The city and Hiroshima Prefecture separately formed a team of senior officials tasked with planning the three-day summit from May 19, 2023, which will be the first time G-7 leaders will gather at an atomic bomb site.

    The officials met for the first time after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Tuesday the host city under Japan's presidency after he finished attending this year's G-7 summit at Schloss Elmau, a castle resort in southern Germany.

    Hiroshima was chosen by Japan, the sole country which has suffered the devastation of wartime nuclear weapons, to send a message of peace.

    "We would like leaders to deepen their understanding of the realities of the consequences of being bombed with an atomic weapon," said Kazumi Matsui, the mayor of the city who heads its team to prepare for the summit.

    "We hope they will discuss security, keeping in mind that eliminating nuclear weapons is the only fundamental solution to safeguard lives and possessions," Matsui added.

    The city and prefectural governments want the world leaders to learn from Hiroshima's experience through museum visits and meeting survivors, during what Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki described as "an important forum holding great world attention."

    The G-7 includes three nuclear states -- Britain, France and the United States -- as well as Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan.

    Kishida, elected from a Hiroshima constituency, has called for a world free of nuclear weapons, and hopes for talks among the G-7 to move toward that goal.

    Although Japan relies on the U.S. nuclear umbrella, it maintains its three principles of not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear arms on its territory.

    The United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, in World War II, and three days later dropped one on Nagasaki.

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