barack obama.jpg
Photograph: EPA/HANNAH MCKAY

US President Barack Obama arrives in Japan Wednesday to attend the final G7 summit of his presidency. He will meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines and later visit the western city of Hiroshima.

Here are top issues surrounding his trip to Japan.

Hiroshima and the atomic bomb

On Friday, Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima since it was destroyed by an atomic bomb in August 1945, in the last days of World War II.

The White House has said his visit will "highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons," but made clear that he will not offer an apology for the bombing.

Obama will travel to Hiroshima “to honour all those who were lost during the war," said Daniel Kritenbrink, a top Obama advisor on Asia.

US military on Okinawa

The issue of the US military presence on the island of Okinawa is expected to be prominent among the topics discussed by Obama and Abe following the recent arrest of a former US Marine in connection with the death of a local woman.

The death is expected to further strengthen political and environmental opposition to the construction of a new US military base on the northern part of the island. The new base would take over the functions of US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which Japan and the US first agreed to close in 1996, but have so far failed to do.

China

Obama and Abe are likely to discuss territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas, and China’s military buildup and increased assertiveness in the region. Japan wants to increase its role in the South China Sea dispute, although Beijing has urged Tokyo not to become involved.

At a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in April, Japan and the US strongly opposed "provocation" in the seas without explicitly naming China, a move that nevertheless prompted a protest from Beijing.

North Korea

Once again, the United States and Japan are likely to condemn North Korea over its nuclear and missile programmes. Pyongyang conducted a fourth nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch in February, and continues to issue threats of war against its main enemies.

The tests prompted the UN Security Council in March to unanimously pass a resolution significantly tightening sanctions on the reclusive country.

Related stories

Latest news

German state approves full-face veil ban

Legislation that bans face veils in select public spaces and situations was agreed by the government of the southeastern German state of Bavaria on Tuesday.

Barcelona police open fire on stolen lorry laden with gas canisters

Security forces in Barcelona opened fire on a stolen lorry laden with gas canisters to bring a rampage through the city to an end, police in the Spanish city said on Tuesday.

Stuttgart to issue bans on high-polluting diesel vehicles from 2018

Most diesel vehicles will be banned from roads in the southern German city of Stuttgart during times of heavy pollution, a bid to clean up the city's air, the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg decided Tuesday.

Slovenia welcomes construction of LNG terminal off Krk, but won't join for now

Slovenia is not planning for now to connect to the floating LNG terminal to be built off Omisalj on the northern Croatian Adriatic island of Krk, but welcomes any additional energy source, Slovenian media say.

German court rules against automatic refugee status for Syrians

Syrians fleeing the multi-sided civil war in their home country do not have an automatic right to refugee status under the Geneva Convention, a German court ruled Tuesday.

Business conference pushes for intensified privatisation in Croatia

As long as the state authorities pay high bills, this means that the government has not yet seriously delved into the privatisation of state-run companies, although their sale can alleviate the pressure on the state budget, a business conference in Zagreb heard on Tuesday.

HND condemns judge's verbal tirade against reporters

The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) on Tuesday condemned a verbal tirade by Sibenik Municipal Court Judge Maja Supe against reporters in the courtroom, claiming that they were not educated to report on trials and that they had called her the "most corrupt judge in the country."

Mosque attended by Berlin attacker Amri closed, police confirm

The mosque in Berlin attended by Berlin truck attacker Anis Amri has been closed. The mosque is permanently closed, read a note in German and Turkish on the door of the prayer rooms which was seen on Tuesday.

German army to expand to almost 200,000 soldiers

Germany's Bundeswehr, plans to expand its number of professional soldier to 198,000 by 2024 because of increasing duties, the German Defence Ministry announced on Tuesday.

Fired Audi engineer says he was 'sacrificed' for emissions scandal

A fired Audi engineer was "sacrificed" amid the ongoing VW group diesel emissions scandal, his lawyer claimed in court on Tuesday as he contested his client's dismissal.

French police arrest three over suspected terror plans, source says

French authorities have arrested three men in relation to suspected plans to carry out attacks in the country or travel to Syria, a source close to the investigation told dpa on Tuesday.

Bosnia Council of Ministers blocked due to motion to review Serbia's genocide acquittal

A meeting of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina that was to be held on Tuesday has been cancelled at the request of the Serb ministers, further deepening the political crisis in that country following announcements that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be requested to review its judgement of Bosnia's suit against Serbia for genocide.

UN: Trial against Gaddafi regime was unfair, flawed

Former members of the Gaddafi regime did not get a fair trial in Libya because the proceedings were so seriously compromised, the United Nations criticized in a report on Monday.

Croatia remains Bosnia's biggest trade partner in 2016

Croatia is still the most important foreign trade partner to Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to figures released by the BiH Chamber of Foreign Trade which show that in 2016 the two countries' trade had gone up.

Red Cross: Bodies of 74 migrants wash ashore in Libya

The discovery of the bodies of 74 migrants washed ashore on the Libyan coast highlight the continued dangers facing people trying to get across the Mediterranean to Europe, warned aid agencies Tuesday.